Frog Alley parking in Fort Worth, Texas on April 9, 2022. (TCU 360/Brooke Gianopulos)
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If there’s one thing students consistently complain about, it’s parking.

There are about 11,000 parking spots available on campus and 9,000 issued parking permits, yet students still feel there is a lack of parking, said Adrian Andrews, the assistant vice chancellor of public safety.

Complaints often center around the availability of close parking, covered parking and what to do with cars when there’s a threat of hail. 

At TCU, spring thunderstorms can result in hail damage to cars, and students living on campus worry about their vehicles. Many often rush to find covered parking in the few spaces available in Frog Alley Parking Garage. 

What many students don’t know is the guards at TCU open the gate on the visitor side of Frog Alley for students, faculty and staff to park their cars when there is a threat of severe weather. 

There were many spots available on the visitor side of Frog Alley Parking Garage moments before a severe thunderstorm hit Fort Worth on April 4, 2022. (Brooke Gianopulos/Copy Editor)

Still, the lack of covered parking is frustrating for some students, even when there are no storms.

“Covered parking is better for cars, especially when it gets hot, so it sucked having to park on the top of the garage or in the other lots in August,” said Haley Lefevre, a junior psychology major. “I would always have to plan out my time after football games to go get my car to get a covered spot.”

Andrews said TCU’s Parking and Transportation unit is also researching what it would take to reallocate at least half of the visitor parking spaces to main campus students to allow students to park on the visitor side of Frog Alley permanently.

Other parking concerns

Some students complain about parking in far-away lots and say they continue to rack up fines for parking illegally.

On average, security guards write around 50 tickets per day and 250 tickets per week.

“I am frustrated with [parking far away] sometimes because I feel like we shouldn’t have to park so far away on campus,” said Luke Hamilton, a junior biology major.

But Andrews said parking on TCU’s campus was purposefully designed to be on the perimeters so that the focus could be on the landscaping and beauty.    

An aerial photo of TCU’s campus from the late 1960s. Before the Brown Lupton University Union was built, the center of campus served as a parking lot. (Photo courtesy of Mary Couts Burnett Library)

“I always felt 19 years ago that TCU was a parking lot surrounded by a campus. It’s now a campus surrounded by a parking lot,” Chancellor Victor Boschini said. “Some people don’t like that because they want their parking right in front.”

New concerns surround parking due to plans to build two new residence halls and a dining hall.

A parking consulting agency is currently conducting an impact evaluation, but as of right now, there is no need for additional parking, Andrews said.

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Boschini said that even with the new dorms, parking will be the same as it is now.

“Parking is always going to be a problem in an academic environment,” Boschini said after reflecting on his experience working at seven different schools. 

Boschini said he would prefer to focus on parking for commuter students because they are the ones who need it for class. As for students living on campus, they should walk, Boschini said. 

Cate Thompson contributed to this report.

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