New year, same problems: Parking drives Penguins crazy

The Fifth Avenue parking deck is closed on several levels. Photo by Mia Albaugh/The Jambar

By Mia Albaugh

Pre-pandemic parking at Youngstown State University was always a hassle at the beginning of each semester. In the first few weeks, students and faculty are arriving early for class, staying late or hurrying off campus to work or home.

Emily Vero, sophomore Integrated Language Arts Education student, said parking is sometimes impossible.

“Parking at my apartment complex isn’t too bad, luckily,” she said. “But if I try to [park] anywhere [else], like if I’m driving across campus to go to, like, Beeghly or DeBartolo, I just can’t find parking.”

  With in-person learning returning this semester, many students and faculty are once again experiencing difficulties with parking.

 According to the Preliminary 14th Day Enrollment report by YSU, 90.7% of students commute daily.

 With a decrease in enrollment and faculty members since the beginning of the pandemic, YSU has about 10,000 people on campus daily.

 As a result of most students living off campus and faculty members commuting, popular parking spots and lots fill quickly. The parking decks on Fifth and Wick avenues are well-known places to park.

 Upgrades to YSU campus may include the demolition of one of these parking decks. The Fifth Avenue deck, built in 1962, is now in the center of campus life since the university has grown around it.

 Danny O’Connell, director of Support Services, said YSU spends about $250,000 yearly to keep the parking deck safe and functional. 

“It’s not cost effective,” he said.

O’Connell said Parking Services is tracking parking patterns to see where additional parking would be needed if the Fifth Avenue deck is closed.

Many students park at this deck because of the convenient location.

“That parking deck is a central location for me when I’m on campus, so it would be an inconvenience if it were closed,” junior IT student Marty Pavalko said.

 O’Connell said parking lot 70, also called the “Tailgating Lot,” is expected to take in the traffic from the students who usually park in the Fifth Avenue deck. Lots 71 and 72,  located on Grant Street and behind the 70 lot, have not been used this semester.

He said the new updates to Fifth Avenue over the summer were to slow traffic, making walking safer, and to create easier access across the street and from campus to parking lots 70-72.

Additional planned improvements include adding parking lots by acquiring more property around campus.

 

Since parking lots 71 and 72 have not been used this semester, parking there and in lot 70 should make parking easier.

 

“If you’re running late, don’t park in a parking deck,” O’Connell said.

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