Hilltop Avenue pay lot to see increased control

By Morgan Eads

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Finding a free parking space for late-night study sessions at the W.T. Young Library may have just gotten a bit more difficult.

The Hilltop Avenue pay lot, where students often park to access the library and Ovid’s Cafe, is designated as visitor parking by UK Parking and Transportation Services.

The lot has previously been without an attendant late at night , allowing students access without having to pay any parking fees if they leave late enough.

Last Tuesday night, students came out to their cars to find that there was an attendant controlling the lot.

There was a lot of confusion as students tried to pay and get out of the lot, marketing and management junior Brandon Loschiavo said.

There was no warning he knew of that the lot would be controlled that night, he added.

Loschiavo also said he believes the late-night control of the pay lot could lead to safety concerns with people having to walk further to their cars at night.

“This is going to discourage people from using the resources that we pay for with tuition,” Loschiavo said.

The outcry of students who use the lot has not gone unnoticed by parking officials.

Spokeswoman Chrissie Tune said Friday she had seen complaints on social networks about the change.

“There was no change in the parking policy; the lot has always been a pay lot,” she said.

Those who park in the lot after the attendants have left for the night are taking advantage of the system and breaking the policy, Tune said.

The change is not in the enforcement of the lot either, Parking and Transportation Services Director Lance Broeking said.

“We noticed that an escalating number of people were using the pay lot for free during pay hours when they know an attendant is not working it,” Broeking said.

Because of this trend, Broeking said the department decided to staff the lot longer at night.

There was no warning because the department does not make a habit of posting who works what hours, Broeking said.

The late-night use of the lot is not something that can be ignored, he said.

“For me it goes against the spirit of the pay lot,” Broeking said. “It is for people using the library, not for people to get free parking to go to whatever’s in the area.”

The matter of the lot is one of fairness, he added. Some have to pay for parking while others try to get by without paying their share.

“People were parking there for almost eight hours essentially for free,” Broeking said.

There is free parking available in the back of the library after 7:30 p.m., Tune said.

The lots are E lots where students with K lot passes also can park from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The parking lots on Columbia Avenue are another option for students who generally park in the pay lot at night.

Parking Structure 2 is also available at night for students hoping to use the library.

The structure, on Hilltop Avenue across from K-Lair, is a slightly farther walk from the library.

Some students pointed out the difficulty of finding a parking spot in these areas.

Finding a spot in the E lot behind the library at night was not easy even before the night control of the pay lot, kinesiology junior Justin Gillette said.

The effects the change will have on safety are a matter of concern for some students.

“It’s always an issue trying to be home before dark or trying to find a ride at night,” marketing sophomore Catherine Wheeler said. “If you’re walking farther to your car you increase your risk of a problem.”

“I can only assume that walking long distances at night will increase risks of your name ending up on a newsletter the next day,” Gillette said.