By Melissa Turosik
Increased enrollment of freshmen at Youngstown State University, along with the construction and new buildings, has made parking on campus more difficult to find.
The freshman class consists of approximately 2,300 students, which is 5.5 percent larger than fall 2016 and 25 percent larger than the 1,800 new students who enrolled in 2014, according to YSU News Center. The official enrollment count stands at more than 12,500 students for the beginning of the fall semester.
Danny O’Connell, parking director at YSU Parking Services, said they added a few new lots to campus this year, but they have not issued more parking passes out this year than in previous years.
“We added the M61 [lot], which is right across the street from the Edge on Rayen, and that has 76 spots in it,” O’Connell said. “We added some other new lots in and increased the M70 lot.”
According to O’Connell, there are over 7,100 spaces available on campus. Currently, more than 10,800 parking permits are out, about 8,400 of which belong to students.
“We feel really comfortable with the number of spots we have right now. We’re trying to get some more spaces on the west side of campus because the Edge has taken over part of the M60 lot and we have more overnight parking over there,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell said YSU could possibly see some additional parking between Arlington and Grant as another gravel lot may be put there by the end of the semester or early spring.
With the increased enrollment this semester, O’Connell regards parking mishaps as a typical occurrence.
“You have your normal beginning of year parking issues; I don’t know if it’s related to enrollment. The biggest change was the second Edge building coming online and moving the bookstore because we lost some parking and added some,” O’Connell said. “It’s difficult the first two weeks of school because everyone is new and everyone has a new schedule.”
Cody North, a sophomore at YSU, said he comes to class extra early just to get a good spot.
“To reduce the stress of coming to school just before classes start, I typically show up between an hour to two hours early,” North said. “It’s definitely harder to find a spot coming right before classes start.”
Alexandrea Hilbert, a sophomore, said it’s been easy to park in the Wick Avenue deck because there’s always a spot open.
Mariah Graham, a sophomore at YSU, said walking far to class can be hard.
“I have to come over to Wick to find a spot because on the other side of campus; it’s very packed. I have to walk all the way across campus to get to classes. It’s somewhat of a struggle to walk from Wick Avenue to Cushwa,” Graham said.
O’Connell offered advice to students who are running late and may run into trouble finding a spot right before class.
“The most important thing is don’t sit and wait for someone to leave; the reality is you should know by now where the open spots are and if you can’t get into the parking deck on Fifth Avenue, figure out where you’re going to park,” O’Connell said. “If you’re running late the best advice is go to the Wick Avenue parking deck and walk to your class because it never fills up.”