Priyanka Sharma and Larry Willis
A Student Government Association-approved resolution has proposed the rezoning of the Fraternity Row parking lot from an open zone to a commuters-only lot.
Parking Resolution 2015-026, which was passed by the SGA at its meeting on Sept. 22, called for the reassignment of the area to a commuter-only lot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The resolution was passed with 28 votes in its favor, 10 against and 2 abstentions.
The lot is currently an open zone, allowing any student or faculty with a valid parking decal to park in the area. The reassignment has not yet been approved by Student Services.
The resolution states that “Newman Center residents have designated parking, yet choose to park on the Fraternity Row and take up spaces near the three most-populated fraternity houses.”
It goes on to say that fraternity house residents are forced to park illegally in order to gain access to their respective houses and, when forced to park across Pell Avenue, are endangered by oncoming traffic. When crossing the street, drivers are unable to see oncoming vehicles due to blind spots caused by illegally parked cars.
“A lot of the reason behind proposing the resolution was the fraternity Sigma Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega — we are the houses on one end of the road,” said Ryan Cole, a senior political science major from Athens and the president of Alpha Tau Omega.
“And we get a lot of overflow from the Newman Center parking lot, because of which people from our houses have to park somewhere else.”
Although the change may favor fraternity house residents and members, who are considered commuters, it is raising concerns for others.
Avalon Dudinsky, a junior global business major from Panama City, Florida, and SGA senator for Newman Center, was one of the voices strongly disapproving the resolution.
“As the representative of the Newman Center, I was elected to represent the needs and concerns of the Newman residents, and it (the resolution) was built specifically targeting Newman Center residents and residents in general for taking away parking,” Dudinsky said. “I think they need to understand that there are only 97 designated spots for 369 residents.
“The commuter lot right beside Newman Center, besides the nursing building, currently holds about 80 residents every morning. So when they are going to enforce that, there will be at least 160 residents that are not going to have parking near the Newman Center.”
Cole said that this resolution was important to the fraternities because of the crowded parking space during chapter meetings and because of the house fees they pay to the university.
According to Cole, among the three fraternities, there are around 90 parking spaces for the 72 residents in the three houses in addition to over 100 people who gather there for chapter meetings.
“Each of the fraternities pays around $6,000 every year to the university as house fees, and this resolution will allow us to park in front of our residence halls,” Cole said.
Rebecca Allbritton, a senior elementary education major from Prattville and the resident director for Newman Center, said that parking was already an issue at her building and this resolution would further limit the parking options for Newman residents.
“People have to park on the curbs, in the nursing building lot, and at the intramural lot,” she said. “Some of my residents have voiced their concern about walking back at night.”
Concerns about parking continues across the campus, although the semester is halfway over.
“They said that once the parking spots behind Hawkins Hall opened, that would solve problems, but I’m personally still finding a lot of difficulty to find parking spots, even though I come early,” said Muhammed Alsaid, a senior general business major from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “I sometimes even have to drive around for half an hour to find a parking spot, so I feel like I’m getting much less than what I have been paying for.”
Myrishiah Ash, a senior computer science major from Mobile, said she believes parking is worsening.
“The parking on campus is a big issue for us as students, and I say that due to the fact that Troy has a bigger class coming in this year than last year, so parking wasn’t nearly as bad then as it is now,” she said.
On the other hand, SGA President Heath Barton, a senior global business major from Opp, said that the parking situation is slightly improving and the ticket appeals process is going well too.
Barton said a spreadsheet is being developed to keep track of all sorts of parking issues and review them to resolve the problems.
Herbert Reeves, dean of student services, said he believes that parking is improving.
“I haven’t received any additional complaints about parking,” Reeves said.
Reeves said the administration is going to continue to work with the SGA to help to limit parking issues, but the administration still has “a challenge of saying that we need additional parking” when some parking lots are still empty.
“We’re going to continue to look at growth, not only from a parking perspective but with several different perspectives here on campus such as residence halls and food services,” he said.