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Letter to the Editor: App State needs complimentary evening parking

Letter+to+the+Editor%3A+App+State+needs+complimentary+evening+parking

In my capacity as both an employee of App State and a member of the Boone community, I am compelled to convey my deep concern regarding the recent modifications to the university’s parking policy. Specifically, I find the removal of complimentary evening parking between 5-7 p.m. troubling.

As someone who has programmed a lot of evening lectures and films, I know 6- 7 p.m. start times for evening programs are optimal for attracting the largest audiences. Adjusting start times later in the evening will result in reduced attendance, thereby undermining the tax payers and student fees investment in bringing in guest speakers, performers and filmmakers.

Further, I fear the new parking policy will inevitably lead to a decline in university library usage, decreased participation in student clubs and hinder our ability to employ students for evening positions on campus, which now necessitate parking fees. I also think many students will be reluctant to travel to campus at later times in order to pick up equipment or meet study groups on campus.

Also for consideration is the likelihood that students will resort to free parking in downtown Boone after 5 p.m., leaving limited parking options for community members visiting local businesses. Later programming at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country will also likely reduce their overall attendance thus lessening their impact on generating business for downtown restaurants.

Eliminating free evening parking will have a negative impact on the neighboring local community closely intertwined with the university. The revised parking policy not only serves as a disturbance to the existing campus culture but also poses a disruption to local citizens who want to participate in university or town events.

I am aware of the university’s need to address parking challenges, particularly the allocation of funds for constructing parking decks to compensate for the loss of surface spaces at Broyhill and the future loss at Peacock locations. However, I believe it’s crucial to consider the broader implications of these decisions. The university must factor all the ill will this new policy has created on campus and in the greater community.

Many community and campus members have addressed this issue with administrative personnel and various stakeholders across campus. However, I remain concerned that the administration’s current stance appears unyielding. While initial outrage might subside, the potential consequences include diminished extracurricular programming, reduced campus activity and an increase in resentment within the community.

I respectfully request that the university find an alternative solution that aligns with the university’s commitment to both its students and the community it serves. The university needs to allow for free parking on campus after 5 p.m. on weekdays.

I am open to embracing a different perspective should my concerns be proven incorrect. However, should my observations hold true, I urge all individuals to communicate their experiences to the university if they discover a diminished likelihood of visiting downtown establishments or if you opt to abstain from participating in events such as performances, concerts, films, lectures and more due to the revised university evening parking policy, I encourage you to share your feedback.

 

Beth Davison

View Comments (5)
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Comments (5)

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  • D

    Dave J.Aug 31, 2023 at 11:38 pm

    How else would university Trustees, investors and corporate partners profit if All didn’t suck every last penny out of your pocket by any means?

    Reply
  • R

    Ray MillerAug 29, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    I could not agree with Professor Davidson more. Extracurricular activities of all kinds are an important part of a university student’s experience. Often, it is where they put into practice what they are learning in their classes. I know that for those of us in theatre and dance that this will have a negative impact on our rehearsals for our plays and dance concerts. I strongly urge the university to reinstate the previous policy and work to find another way by which to find the funds necessary for building parking decks.

    Reply
  • S

    Sali Gill-JohnsonAug 29, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful and eloquent post Beth. I write from personal experience, having worked with Schaefer and AppSummer events for over 28 years. Even for events with an 8pm curtain, audiences, ushers and the many students we employ for events will be impacted by this policy. This will no doubt create yet more negative feelings towards the university administration, and campus in general.

    Reply
  • H

    Howard S NeufeldAug 29, 2023 at 7:27 am

    I support Beth Davison’s request for complimentary parking between 5-7 pm, but add to it that this unduly and unfairly impacts graduate students as well. Many graduate students need to work in the lab after daytime class hours, and this restriction on where they can park for free is both a financial burden on them if they have to pay to park at that time, plus a safety issue by forcing students to park away from campus when it is dark and having to walk to their building.

    While funding is important, the unfairness to graduate students and the safety issues involved trump making money. The university, which pays its graduate students peasant wages and unfairly charges them tuition on top, could at least provide complimentary parking for them. They provide services that deserve such recognition.

    Reply
  • D

    Delores WilderAug 29, 2023 at 6:37 am

    I am a resident of fifty years in Watauga County, and an ASU graduate. As a retired educator, I have enjoyed attending various performances and events at ASU and downtown. Having free parking after 5 at ASU has encouraged the number of events I attend. I am equally frustrated ASU students fill up downtown parking, and I avoid shopping and dining out in downtown. Boone and ASU both have parking challenges, and taking away an existing option is not the solution. I will not attend an ASU performance if there is no parking, simple as that.

    Reply