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When you hear the word parking, there could be reason to get a little uneasy. We’ve all had some bad experiences in parking lots, like when the lady sees you with your turn signal on, stares you right in the face and jets to your spot as if she didn’t know that’s what you were patiently waiting on!

Or, the parking lot panhandlers who have the greatest stories to explain why they only need a few dollars. Then there’s the joy of holiday parking, grocery shopping and mall parking on Saturday. You can expect for these situations to be a wink shy of a nightmare, although these types of parking issues are not what I’d like to address.

Can you believe we have bigger issues than Saturday mall parking? Yes, there’s DUN-DUN-DUNN- MATC parking! I’m sure all of us have a different story when it comes to parking, depending on what campus we attend. Veering away from the personal, emotional side of it all, fact is there’s a major difference in the way parking is structured, and it raises brows.

Indeed, the campuses being located in different areas require or allow for a different parking set up, although it’s the ease and cost associated with the parking that gives me pause. In all honesty, I’ve only heard about the easy, breezy parking at the Mequon and Oak Creek campuses.

I’ve never been a student at either, so can’t truly speak on the parking there. I can however, compare between downtown Milwaukee and West Allis, as I have been enrolled at both campuses and have a lot to say.

If this was a phone call I’d ask if you would you like the good news or the bad news first. Well, since this is an article I’ve decided to start with the good news first; it is almost Christmas. In all fairness, I believe MATC has tried to accommodate the parking needs of the students according to enrollment and daily attendance. I’m not sure if the college has done its very best, but it has tried.

The downtown campus does offer a parking structure with a “lovely” bridge that connects to the campus, and for that we should all be grateful. The West Allis campus offers 2 1/2 decent size lots that permit student parking, and for the most part I have had no issues with finding a place to park there. Okay, now that I have offered my very short and sweet gratitude, please excuse me for a moment while I go into Grinch mode.

In my opinion, parking on campus is a daunting task, speaking particularly to the downtown campus for a moment. It costs to park, which is understandable, yet to pay for a parking permit and in addition incur a daily cost is a bit much. At the campus cashier’s office, you have the option to purchase a one- or two-semester permit. This grants you permission to park in designated areas at any of the four campuses. If there is going to be an additional fee to park, then why not offer an a la carte to your permit purchase with a per use or per semester fee; kind of like buying a monthly or weekly bus pass.

Instead, if you decide to park in the structure it is on designated floors, where your permit must be in view, and your student ID must be loaded with money in order to exit the structure at the student rate of $1.50 per day. Don’t get me wrong, $1.50 is not much; it only gets costly if you’re paying it more than twice a week. The average full-time student attends classes three times per week.

With a semester being roughly five months, about 20 weeks, it will cost an additional $80 – $100 per semester. So, there’s that small challenge. Now, not to go off on a tangent, but I’d like to bring attention to the fact that there are lots downtown for MATC students that are so far from campus they seem to require the use of public transportation to get from them to the actual school; now that’s a deterrent.

Let me not forget to mention there’s a large parking lot right across the street from the front entrance of the school that “surprisingly” your parking permit is deemed non-applicable.

Yep, the convenience of that lot comes with a pretty price tag. So, leave that handy hanging permit in the glove compartment because it’s no good there. To purchase an ample amount of time, be prepared to pay for that space what it would cost for a sit-down feast at Red Lobster. I’m exaggerating a tad, but honestly it can be a bit costly, especially if it’s a daily expense.

So, the icing on gingerbread cookies is there’s a new arena downtown. Yes! The Bucks have swept in and infected our city with the need to upgrade and make new.

From drab to fab they have claimed their land and everything around it must be a reflection of all things wonderful. So, with all this new you know what that means; out with the old. The old includes the Bradley Center parking structure, you know the one with the designated floors that we’re permitted to park on, with the “lovely” bridge.

That’s right, fellow students, that too is on its way out, and the new is only available at a premium. A premium that MATC, well in its right, is not willing or able to pay for. I apologize I don’t have an answer as to when the demo will take place, or if there will be another lot offered in its place.

Oh well, on the bright side we still have that lot across the street with the handsome fee, the far away lot near Blast fitness, and a small lot by the book store. I was really trying to keep this article unbiased, but I will admit the only downside to parking at West Allis is the Wisconsin weather, and structure parking is not an option.

Well, if you’ve read my articles before you know I give it to you straight. Let’s face it, there’s a challenge associated with almost everything worth having. Nothing is perfect, and as a student upon graduation, I will say I have received a second-to-none education at a top-rated community college.

So I will suffer through the parking issues so I may continue to get the education I deserve and look forward to applying in my life’s work and passion. Or better yet, we could all just enroll at one of the other three campuses with the better parking options to avoid the whole “parking thing.”

No really, at the end of the day it’s just parking. I’m certain we’ll survive. It appears to just be a part of the experience.

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Hey, that’s my spot!