WTAMU Parking Problems Return

- CANYON -- As students return to class Monday at West Texas A&M University, a familiar problem also returns.  Parking.

    It's a problem on just about every University or College campus.

    WTAMU did add hundreds of additional parking spots but, they also eliminated others as the transformation to a more pedestrian-friendly campus continues.

    Three days before classes resume, you can see the concern.

    "It's already filled up." said WTAMU student Matthew Aldaco.

    Finding a parking spot on campus has always been tough even though the university continues adding new spaces.

    The addition of more than 400 spots behind the activities center helps alleviate the problem but, you're going to have to hike from there.

    WTAMU police chief Shawn Burns says that was a decision they made years ago.  "Everybody wants to be close.  We made a decision in the strategic plan, that our campus was going to be a pedestrian friendly campus.  That means you're going to have to push your parking to the exterior of the campus.  That is not where people want it.  But, what it results in is, we don't necessarily have a parking problem.  We have a walking problem."

    For some students, walking isn't a problem.

    "I've been walking since Sunday and it's not tiring.  It's easy to get around and you like get oriented pretty good."  Said first year student Daniella Salaverria.

    To help accommodate more pedestrians, the university shut down 26th street between the library and the dining hall.

    "When you have 2,000 students on campus at one time, kind of hard to fit everyone in a crosswalk.  So, car traffic through that area is not safe.  Not safe to mix vehicles and pedestrians so we did make the decision to close that street down for pedestrian traffic only."  said Burns.

    By closing down the street, that too added more walking for students who live in dorms in that area.

    Aldaco said, "I had to park across the street from what we used to call the meat lab.  Originally I could park at my dorm but now I can't.

    The university does have shuttles.

    Last year, they transported more than 125,000 people on shuttles.  This year they added another shuttle.  They make five stops on campus every 5 to 7 minutes.

    WTAMU does have an app to help track those shuttles.
    It allows you to see where each one is on campus in real-time.

    You can find that app on the WTAMU website.

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