Competition for parking downtown could ramp up in springtime

VIDEO: Competition for parking downtown could ramp up in springtime

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The competition for parking spaces in downtown Charleston may ramp up come the springtime.

In an email sent last week to College of Charleston students, the Parking Services Department said it will be unable to provide assigned parking spots for undergraduate students who live on-campus next semester.

As of Monday afternoon Mike Robertson, a spokesman for the College of Charleston, said of the 11,000 students at the college there were 750 applications for the spring semester.

Robertson said at this time there are only 650 parking spots available.

"There's just not enough for everyone," said Kelsey Booth, a graduate student who lives on-campus.

Booth said she has an assigned parking spot with the College, but doesn't use it because of how far away it is.

According to the College of Charleston's website, there are 16 available parking garages and lots for College of Charleston students to park in.

Most are located right around the campus itself, however others are a bit farther away like the Aquarium.

Booth said she's been parking in a different free lot, a bit closer to campus instead of her assigned spot.

Come the springtime though, she's not sure what she'll do.

"Parking is crucial especially for Juniors and Seniors who are high in their programs and need to get places," Booth said.

Robertson said the assigned spaces with the college are leased from the City of Charleston.

Recently a certain number was taken back by the city, causing CofC to reduce the number of assigned spaces available.

The email from the College of Charleston said undergraduates who live on-campus won't be able get an assigned spot, because officials want to keep them open for commuters.

"There's usually not any spots on the street," said Gracie Parnell, a Senior who commutes from Mt. Pleasant.

Parnell said she knows that some of the undergrads who live on-campus have parking spaces, which makes it a bit tougher for her to try and get one.

"It's a little frustrating, but at the same time I know a lot of people who just choose not to have a car," Parnell added. "So that's kind of helpful."

The College of Charleston is working with the City of Charleston to secure additional spaces for the Spring 2016 semester, but until then, "we encourage resident students to explore the transportation options we have available for students who do not have cars on campus."

Robertson said the situation should be resolved in the coming days.

An exact number for how many on-campus/off-campus students who have parking assignments was unavailable Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, some students are renting spaces from vendors outside of the college assigned spots.

One student said it's because of the price difference.

Robertson said assigned spots with the college can run between $400-$600 per semester depending on where the lot is.

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