Within the last month, city leaders enacted Oxford’s first permitted parking district. The new ordinance was designed to prohibit University of Mississippi students from parking in residential neighborhoods for long periods of time. Students often feel pressured to park in residential areas because of the lack of parking on campus.
In the fourth story of a series on parking, we interviewed students about the challenges they face finding a space.
This new ordinance will affect students who have nowhere else to park and residents who live on the affected streets. Residents of certain streets are required to purchase $50 parking pass stickers if they want to park on the street in front of their home. Cars found without the proper credentials are subject to fines.
UM student Christian Lukasik said parking is a big issue that must be addressed by the university and rectified soon. He said parking passes may help residents, but he’s not sure how it will affect students.
“I believe it is helpful somewhat to the residents of those streets by not having a million people park in front of their house every day,” he said, “but I also believe it would be a pain for them to have to purchase a parking pass for their own house.”
Lukasik said people who drive to class every day may have trouble if they are unable to find a spot on campus and are blocked from any residential street. Some students resort to skipping class to avoid paying the fees.
“I can’t afford any fees, so I avoid breaking any parking rules at all times,” he said. “…What has been working best for me with all of this reduced parking is just leaving much earlier than I normally do for class, and it has been very beneficial, as I can be early to class, and even study before.”
UM is aware of the parking crisis. Since last summer, officials have been implementing new ways of parking on campus, such as offering the parking deck next to the Pavilion.
“I just hope there will be more parking availability,” Lukasik said, “and I don’t think it is right for residents to have to pay to park at their own house.”
Sam Gray does not live within the route of the Oxford University Transit bus system, and his only source for transportation to class is to drive his own vehicle.
“Finding parking is next to impossible, and resorting to parking on residential streets is all I have left,” Gray said. “Sometimes, if I leave too late for class, there are no parking spots, and I am forced to park in residential neighborhoods, even though I have the proper credentials for parking on campus.”
Gray said he feels like he’s caught in a trap.
“The city should examine the source of the problem and tackle that, and not just add on fees,” he said. “My only options are to park on these residential streets or not attend class, since I have no other source of transportation.”
Gray said more parking spaces should be added in areas that are not currently being used.
“I believe that everyone would benefit from being able to leave for class and easily find an open spot,” Gray said. “That’s the dream.”