Moving off-campus can make running errands like grocery shopping and buying cleaning supplies more difficult, especially when you don’t have a means of transportation like Michigan State University student Ben Lefere. He is like many students who live in an apartment without a guaranteed parking spot.
“I have two roommates and our lease only comes with one parking spot,” Lefere said. “My roommate is the one who uses it, so now I don’t have a place to park my car. I need it to get around town and now I am scrambling to find a place where I can park it.”
When Lefere left his car in the parking lot of his apartment complex without a pass, he was ticketed and his parents came up to take the car home the next day, he said.
“I’m not mad at my parents for taking the car home. I don’t want to rack up tickets or have it be towed,” Lefere said. “But I was planning on having a car with me this year, so I have to find a way around it now.”
Lefere’s roommate offered to allow Lefere to use his car when he needs it, but that isn’t always convenient for either of them.
“If I want to go somewhere but my roommate isn’t home, I am stuck,” Lefere said. “My girlfriend has her car, but I don’t want to have to ask her every time. Any time I need to go somewhere to run errands I need to schedule it around when my friends are available, and I am busy enough with class and work as it is.”
According to Caleb Sharrow, parking administrator for East Lansing, there are some options for Lefere and others in his situation.
“We offer monthly permits in our gated facilities and surface lots,” Sharrow said. “We also offer a discount multi-use voucher for those who utilize the downtown parking system, but don’t have the need for a monthly permit.”
According to the city of East Lansing website, there are nine different parking lots or garages across the city stretching from Bailey Street to Valley Court. The cost for a permit ranges from $90-$130 a month depending on the location.
These locations are centrally located near downtown East Lansing and don’t stretch far enough for those living north of downtown. A permit is tough to come by – they sold out for the month of September.
As of right now, there is no plan to expand downtown parking in East Lansing according to Sharrow which means Lefere is out of luck.
Another option for Lefere is going to local businesses and asking to use their parking. MSU student Heath Barada and his roommates had to do this last year when their apartment didn’t have enough parking for everyone.
“Our apartment only came with one spot, so we went to Tabooli, which is a street over from where we lived, and paid like $900 for the year to park in their parking lot,” Barada said. “A lot of people do it and honestly it’s worth it.”
Barada and his roommates made sure for this school year they lived somewhere with parking for everyone even if they had to pay for it.
“I don’t mind paying for my parking, but having it be at my apartment is more convenient and less of a headache of going to businesses and having to worry about leaving my car somewhere,” Barada added.
Lefere said he has gotten by so far through the first month in East Lansing, but is still on the lookout for somewhere to park his car.
“I thought there was enough parking at my apartment for everyone,” Lefere said. “Regardless of what happens the rest of this year. I will learn from this and make sure I have parking next year.”