Is free parking at Blue Lot a commuter’s dream?

Georgia State students wait in the Blue Lot at Georgia State Stadium for the Blue Route on Sept. 20, 2018. Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

According to U.S. News and World Report, 79% of students who attend Georgia State are commuters.

Considering our school is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, parking can be a nightmare for us commuters. Parking on campus is not cheap and paying to park daily adds up quickly.

The private parking lots and garages on campus start anywhere from $6 to $8 for just a couple of hours. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find street parking starting at $2 an hour. The downside to using the meters is that there are often time restraints for how long you can occupy that space.

If a Georgia State commuter wants to pay to park on campus, they only have so many options: M Deck and the University Lofts Parking Deck permits cost $215 per semester with no overnight parking permitted. If you’re a resident of University Housing, you’re looking at $400 per semester to park in the University Lofts Parking Deck, with overnight parking included.

These prices are very high, and if you don’t have many classes on campus, getting this permit seems unnecessary and unfair.

Now let’s talk about the dreaded Blue Lot, my dear Panthers. As previously reported by The Signal, Blue Lot was acquired by Georgia State in a 99-year lease with Carter Construction. Blue Lot was supposed to be every commuter’s dream because it offered free parking, something that is practically unheard of in Atlanta.

The issue with Blue Lot isn’t just a matter of navigating traffic to get to the lot, it’s the shuttles. 

“On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my first class is at 9:30 a.m., so I’ve been getting to Blue Lot at 8:45 a.m. to ensure I can get to class on time; I’ve yet to make it less than 15 minutes late,” Sharmaine Francois, managing director for the Georgia State chapter of Her Campus, said. “The lines have been ridiculous. It literally wraps alongside the Blue Lot with only one bus showing up in, like, 20-minute intervals.”

This is problematic because even with careful planning, you’re bound to be late to class. With the number of students that commute, you would think that there would be more shuttles on the Blue Lot route, especially during the mornings. When I visited the Georgia State parking page, it states that the Green Lot is now the new designated parking lot for students.

“I’ve only seen the shuttle pull up to the Green Lot twice, but if that’s the case, it would make more sense for the Blue Route buses to pick people up there instead,” Francois said.

What’s going to come of the Blue Lot, I wonder?

Although the information provided on the university website is accurate, how many commuters are actually aware of this sudden change? The lack of direct communication is extremely frustrating for us commuters because we just want to park for free and get to our classes on time.