MRU Parking: Students and Their Worries
Emme Larkins, Staff Writer
Since the beginning of the school year, parking on campus continues to leave many students with light wallets and scrambling to get to class on time. Many students have reported having a hard time every day finding parking in campus lots, even when they have permits. Mount Royal University (MRU) seems to continue to hand-wave and ignore the issue at hand.
Safe and easy access to campus is essential to students’ academic success, and fixing the problem is taking a while. The parking office’s latest update which told students to wait and hope for the best didn’t sit well for some.
“We fully anticipate the high volume of traffic to subside over the next couple of weeks as people find their way around campus and start settling into their academic routines,” says MRU Parking and Transportation Services in their Sept. 16 email.
MRU Parking and Transportation Services did not get back to The Reflector’s request for further comment by the time this article was published.
Fourth year MRU student Jasmine Krawchuk, felt the apology sent to students via email was half-hearted.
“I don’t understand how we as students are meant to hang tight as the institution takes their time, or how they expect the situation to suddenly resolve itself by September’s end,” says Krawchuk.
Krawchuk went on to say that this issue is about more than meets the eye. When it’s hard to find parking, her academics suffer.
“On my first day of class I got to school 15 minutes early, knowing that my professor is strict about attendance and timing, but I ended up driving around for 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot, from parking lot to parking lot,” adds Krawchuk, a straight A student.
The issues that arise due to lack of parking are serious and have real consequences for students.
This is echoed by business student Jaden Motowylo, though his concerns are safety related. As someone who has been parking in the East Gate Parkade since 2019, he has noticed a great increase in unsafe driving conditions with increased traffic in the parkade.
“Long lines to even get into the parkade, impatient drivers driving on the wrong side of the lanes, it’s a real concern,” says Motowylo.
Though Motowylo doesn’t know what the cause of this increased volume, or why there’s higher traffic of inexperienced drivers, he says he can confirm his recent experiences in the parkade are a far cry from what he saw three years ago.
“Before this semester, I never had to drive as far as P4. But now, I can get to campus as early as 9 a.m. and the lower levels are all full,” Motowylo continues.
The Reflector has contacted multiple sources across campus. One being the Students Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU), who we did not hear back from at the time of publishing. Secondly, Peter Glenn, MRU’s senior media relations officer, who acknowledged The Reflector’s request but was not able to get a statement back at this time.
With all of these concerns, there’s one elephant in the room— money. This 2022-23 academic year, many MRU students are feeling the economic pinch of parking fees more than ever, through the increase in parking permits and fines. So what are students paying for?
“‘You Belong Here!’ Unless you drove to school, that is… I think many students find the cost of parking at MRU egregious, considering most already feel like universities are gouging us with tuition,” says Lily Dupuis, a journalism student at MRU.
Dupuis has not personally experienced the parking issues that seem to plague many students this year, but she has extensive thoughts on the cost.
“I’m not saying that there aren’t alternatives to driving, I just think it’s unfortunate that paying for parking has become yet another expense tied to owning a vehicle in Calgary, or while attending MRU,” continues Dupuis.
UPDATED STATEMENT FROM MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
Mount Royal University is aware of concerns from students around parking on campus.
This fall, the majority of parkers are choosing to park on the East side of campus, whereas in years’ past it was the West. The majority of permit stalls are on the West side of campus, which has given the perception of parking not being available.
MRU’s Parking and Transportation Services sent out an email to all permit holders a couple of weeks ago letting them know they could park in the East Gate Parkade, as well as lots 3 and 5 should parking in their preferred lot not be available. We have yet to see a date and time where parking on campus has not been available.
There are very few high school students accessing parking on campus. Almost all of the high school students take the bus as provided by the school. This does not impact parking nor Calgary Transit.
— Mount Royal University