BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The traffic, on the roads and the sidewalks, is back at LSU. Monday marked the first day of classes for Louisiana's flagship university. And for students who commute to school, the parking situation was not what they expected.
"I left my house about an hour and fifteen minutes early to get down here," said Jeannette Hulin. "Just to make sure I'd get a parking spot and get to class early."
Hulin says it never fails, every year she is on the lookout for an open space in the commuter lots. She says she's used to circling around the parking lot for about 30 minutes or being late to classes because of parking.
LSU's Parking Director Gary Graham says this year, almost 20,000 student parking permits were pre-sold. Another 5,000 went to faculty and staff. He says there are two other lots, by the softball stadium and Alex Box, are also available for parking. But the university lost the lot by Kirby Smith because a new residence hall is being built.
Graham adds, the school is not hurting for parking.
"We don't need more, in the sense of numbers. What we need is more where everybody wants it."
He says LSU has thousands of parking spaces that are not even used on a daily basis. (He did add those same spots do get used for home football games).
Graham says Monday he checked on specific lot every hour, to access how parking was looking on campus.
"We had plenty of space still on the side of Nicholson," he said.
There's also a new parking garage behind the bookstore, where there are an additional 750 spaces. Graham says 290 of those are for students, 90 are for faculty and 400 are for visitors. There is an hourly fee to park there.
If you do park on campus, you'll probably want to make sure you are parking in the right area. We saw workers for the parking and transportation office writing tickets to people whose cars did not have the proper parking tags.
As for Jeannette Hulin, she found her first day back on campus to be quite lucky. Less that two minutes are pulling in to one of the commuter lots, she found a parking spot in less than two minutes. But she's not sure that good luck will stay with her through the year.
"Love this school, but I don't love the parking."