If you’re thinking that parking at Samford seems to be a bigger problem than usual, you’re right. Even last year’s temporary solution--the overflow lot across Lakeshore Drive--is now often overflowing. According to surveys conducted by the Office of Campus Safety, there have been many times since the opening of the semester when there literally was not a single empty space on campus.
“Certainly students are hunting for spots, but faculty and staff are hunting too,” said Director of Campus Safety Bobby N. Breed. Breed said his office is tracking the problem through most of every workday now. “We’re doing a parking survey every 45 minutes from 7:00 through midday,” he said.
The parking squeeze eases significantly by most afternoons, but until then the crowding is severe and frustration and illegal parking reign. Misuse of fire zones and handicapped parking spaces is especially troubling and can’t be tolerated, Breed said. Moreover, he said, there are legal ways to avoid being entirely shut out of parking on campus.
• Although the overflow lot sometimes reaches capacity, this lot and the shuttle bus that serves it still provide some parking relief.
• Samford does not reserve parking spaces for any administrators or staff, and some of them have chosen to park in the overflow lot in order to free space on campus. Please consider this option if it wouldn’t present a significant physical hardship or interfere with your work-related duties.
• Carpool with Samford spouses and neighbors.
• Adjust your morning arrival times and allow for more time to find a parking space before classes or meetings.
• Parking surveys are logged as they come in to Campus Safety, so folks hunting for an empty space can call 726-2020 for directions to current openings.
These are only temporary solutions, of course. All the most obvious solutions also have obvious drawbacks. Parking deck spaces can cost as much as $20,000 each to create, and estimates might not include costs such as permitting, lighting, power usage, access and ongoing maintenance. Surface parking of the kind added in the last year costs considerably less--$1,500 to $5,500 per space--but few, if any, surface parking options are left on Samford's campus. And so the search for a long-term solution continues with increasing urgency. Michael Morgan, Vice President for University Relations, said suggestions are welcome, and noted that "all of us will benefit from mutual cooperation and good will as we work together to solve this problem."