Despite parking improvement efforts underway, nothing is being done for visitors.The only visitor parking on campus is located in front of the Brown-Lupton Student Center and the Kelly Alumni Center. These spaces are important; people do frequently visit resident halls and buildings near the Student Center and attend events at the Alumni Center, but these are not the only places visitors need to park.
As an employee at the art gallery, the most frequent complaint I receive from guests is a lack of available parking. There is no visitor parking available in the area. The closest TCU parking marked off for visitors is at the Student Center, a five- to eight-minute walk, which takes even longer for our elderly guests.
There is a church parking lot across the street that is accessible for daytime visitors, except during church events. To a casual visitor, however, this lot is not obvious, and no one wants to risk an expensive TCU parking ticket, or a less expensive Fort Worth ticket.
The church lot, while more or less convenient when open, fills up. It also closes during weddings and funerals, and visitors parking there still have to cross the street to get onto the TCU campus. Making this a non-solution to visitor parking problems.
Empty parking spaces in the Moudy area are not difficult to find. In fact, there is a parking lot behind Moudy that is frequently at least half empty.
This lot is made up entirely of reserved spaces, a fairly new occurrence. In the few years I have been here, the amount of reserved spaces has multiplied, completely swallowing the lot.
This lot, which used to be a faculty lot, would be a logical place for visitor parking. Sure, TCU would lose some money because there would be fewer salable parking spaces, but it would give TCU an opportunity to present a happy face to potential donors.
Donors and potential donors frequently visit the art gallery. These are often elderly people in need of a short walking distance. Why, then, is TCU willing to drive away donations by a simple lack of visitor parking? Is this the same TCU that begins calling people within months of graduation to ask for donations?
A row of visitor parking would be an excellent addition to the Moudy parking lot. This would allow easy parking access to those visiting the Moudy facilities, as well as those attending weddings or other events at the Robert Carr Chapel and perhaps even theatre events at the Walsh Center for Performing Arts.
Another possible solution would be to add a few parking spaces for visitors in each lot, including Moudy, according to its size and location. Large lots near visitor-frequented areas should contain more spaces, and small remote lots should have only one or two.
Additional visitor spots would make TCU a more welcoming campus for guests, who frequently include donors, parents, alumni and prospective students.
It is in everyone’s best interest to give visitors a place to park.
Stephanie Weaver is a senior English, French and philosophy major from Westwood, Kan.