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Howard University Students Discuss Parking Predicaments

Howard University students express concern over parking expenses and regulations.

A Washington, D.C. parking enforcement officer issues a ticket to a car parked on 6th Street NW outside of Wilbur Thirkield Hall. (Juan Benn Jr./The Hilltop)

Tonyia Richardson commutes to campus. 

The junior nursing major has classes at the Howard University College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences off North Capitol Street NW, so the parking pass she bought only applies to that building. 

It does not work on Howard’s main campus, and because of that, she has gotten three parking tickets.

“It puts me at a disadvantage because I’m getting parking tickets for literally trying to go to the main campus even though I’m paying for somewhere else,” Richardson said. “It’s just hard. They’re not helping out, and I just feel like I don’t get the support that I need.”

The Louisville, Kentucky, native is just one of many students who drive to campus and struggle with finding parking and avoiding tickets. 

Evan Barker said he has only been driving for the last two semesters and has already received six tickets costing him between $50 and $100 each. 

“It’s crazy because it happens at normal times of the day, like 5 p.m. A ticket will be in my car after I leave class,” Barker said. “It’s just an easy way to ruin a good day.”

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Multiple vehicles on this street were issued tickets. (Juan Benn Jr./The Hilltop)

In 2022, the Washington D.C. Central Collection Unit earned nearly $8.7 million from parking tickets, $12.9 million from camera citations, and $3.5 million from moving violations. 

Howard University’s Office of Auxiliary Enterprises handles all parking and transportation concerns. According to its website, the office warned students that “limited parking means limited availability” and encourages visitors and employees to consider alternate forms of travel when accessing campus. 

Students are permitted to park in the following lots below:

  • Banneker South – In front of Howard Plaza Towers, East
  • East Towers – Behind Howard Plaza Towers, East
  • Howard Center – Across from Barnes & Noble Bookstore
  • Drew – Behind Drew Resident Hall

The cost for an annual student parking pass is $680 and is charged to a student’s bill. However, some students attempt to avoid paying the fee and risk parking on campus anyway.

“I don’t have one because the pricing is too expensive,” Barker said. “In addition to always hearing stories about break-ins, I personally see broken glass and cars left on crates on numerous occasions, so it feels more secure to park on the actual campus.”

When students and visitors cannot find a parking space inside their designated lot, they often resort to parking along the street and paying city parking meters, like this one between the East Towers and Howard Center parking lot. (Juan Benn Jr./The Hilltop)

Metropolitan Police Department Officer A.J. Keels expressed a need for improvement regarding D.C. signage and recommended incorporating zone parking for students.

“If the campus could do something like zone parking for students so you guys can have a spot, that would be great. A lot of areas do that for a certain time period,” Keels said. “It helps the students, meaning nobody could park in that section but the students. However, the university would have to implement that.” 

Taylor Isaacs, a senior journalism major at Howard University from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, expressed that the university should improve its student parking accommodations and address the housing shortage. 

“If you’re a student with no holds on your account, give us a permit,” Isaacs said. “If not, make arrangements for your students to live closer to campus so that we can finish our degree without added financial stress.”

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The Hilltop made multiple attempts to contact Howard’s Office of Auxiliary Enterprises, but did not receive a response before the time of publication. 

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady


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