The Problem with Duke Parking

Ah, Blue Zone. Your rough pavement, your limited spaces, your high cost – I know you well. And so do many other Duke students. Unfortunately, we’re not fans. The problem, however, does not lie in Blue Zone itself; instead, it lies within Duke Parking and Transportation. The department in charge of maintaining Blue Zone and other Duke parking lots and garages is constantly badmouthed by students for a variety of reasons, most of them cost-related.

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Katherine Edlein, a sophomore, spoke to me about how expensive it can be to park on campus, with the $400 parking permit just being the beginning. She got two $100 tickets for parking in a fake spot that had been spray painted in a lot she was allowed to park in. Even though she was not aware of the fact that the spot was fake, she was still issued the two tickets and was only notified of them after the second one had been issued. Interestingly enough, had she parked in the wrong lot, the tickets would have only been $40 each. “It just stresses me out a ton and, more than once, I’ve gotten my work study paycheck and handed it right back to Duke for parking,” she added.

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James Meade, a junior who has received five parking tickets during his time at Duke, told me, “[Duke Parking] is insanely expensive, especially when you consider the poor quality of both customer service (for lack of a better term) and the physical parking facilities themselves.” After successfully appealing one of his parking tickets, James had to pay $320 in parking fees, nearly the cost of the permit itself. In addition to these fees, if your car is towed, you are responsible for the $200 towing fee and have to go pick your car up on Central Campus.

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Something Blue Zone permit holders are all too familiar with is being forced to move their cars for home football games, when Iron Duke passholders are given access to Blue Zone for parking. Instead of parking where they usually do, students have to move their cars either to Smith Warehouse by East Campus or Parking Garage I by Duke Hospital – both located far from West Campus. Typically, students have to remove their cars between 3pm Friday and 6am Saturday, and move their cars back to Blue Zone beginning one hour after the game ends and before 2pm Sunday. When asked how he felt about students having to move their cars to accommodate visitors, James replied, “It’s pretty unfair in my opinion. We pay a premium price and get a sub-par product.” Being a Blue Zone permit holder myself, I’m inclined to agree that it’s unreasonable for students to be forced to park elsewhere when they pay specifically to park in Blue Zone.

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I reached out to Duke Parking and Transportation’s Senior Operations Manager inquiring about the number of tickets issued per semester and the department’s reasoning for having students move their cars from Blue Zone, but have not received a response as of the time of publication.

A simple glance through Duke’s Fix My Campus Facebook group will reveal multiple complaints about parking on Duke’s campus, which is a sign that there is much to be fixed on Duke Parking and Transportation’s part.

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