Hijabi Hot Takes: Parking passes are getting ridiculous


Nadine Jallal, Opinion Writer

App State Parking & Transportation has recently made some changes to student parking policies and passes for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. Changes include new types of parking passes as well as increase in price for every parking pass available. As App State’s cost of attendance steadily increases, students are being hit with yet another exploitative price increase for parking. 

The addition of a new type of parking pass required to park on campus from 5-7 p.m., only two hours, costs $120 per year. The addition of a parking pass such as this one directly prevents off campus students and visitors from participating in any extracurriculars on campus during these times. It is already hard enough to stay involved on campus as off campus students, why is App State aiming to make it even harder? Not to mention, the new parking pass is targeting students who just went through the extraordinary circumstances of finding housing for the upcoming year during a housing crisis.

Sure, some students could take the bus during those two hours, but there are many circumstances and issues that flew over the heads of those who introduced this parking pass. Anyone who needs to be on campus between those hours can take the bus, but they might be staying on campus longer than the buses run and will then be left with no way home. Not to mention, many students dislike taking the bus at night due to fears of being out alone and having to walk from the bus stops to their off-campus housing. Utilizing their own cars on campus for free after 5 p.m. gives students a sense of security and autonomy while on campus during the evening. Furthermore, many off campus students may not live in an area served by the AppalCart.

Many students will turn to parking on King Street between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., but there are only so many parking spots available. Students turning to King Street parking will undoubtedly impact the businesses located there. Restaurants will especially be impacted as 5-7 p.m. are oftentimes peak business hours. Boone residents and customers of those businesses will have a hard time finding parking spots on King Street due to students taking up those spots. The introduction of the evening parking pass not only impacts App State students, but also the local community. App State prides itself on giving back to the community and ensuring a healthy co-existence between the locals and students, but this parking pass will only continue to cause division.

Logistics aside, this parking pass is a cash grab and will further exploit students already paying tuition. What better way to cause more socioeconomic barriers than charging students for being involved in extracurricular activities or using campus facilities like the library for late night studying? 

Speaking of cash grabs, the overall prices of parking passes on campus have increased greatly. Rivers Street Parking Deck and the Blue Ridge Parking District prices have both increased by about $120. A $120 increase is not only uncalled for, but also inhumane. Not to mention, Rivers Street Parking Deck sometimes gets so full that students who buy  permits are unable to find a parking spot because the deck doubles as visitor parking. Most of the other parking lots available to students increased by about $60. 

At this rate, parking will continue to be more and more unaffordable for students. App State’s campus, though beautiful, is undoubtedly a far destination from many students’ home towns. Many students absolutely need to bring their cars to campus and making the parking passes they need increasingly expensive is exploitative and inhumane.

The university continues to make decisions that make the lives of students harder than they need to be. Coming into the 2023-24 school year with yet another cash grab from App State is not only disappointing, but disheartening. Many students are speaking out against decisions such as this one, including Kayden Cox, creator of the petition going around to stop the implementation of the evening parking pass. The petition has already garnered over 4,000 signatures. Those interested in supporting the movement against the evening parking pass could sign and share the petition.