NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Although the fall semester just started, it appears parking problems are already plaguing the University of Oklahoma this year. 

“It’s been crazy in Norman this year. I can’t even find a spot when I’m trying to go to class,” said Grayson Russell, an OU student. 

Another student, Tanner Benbrook, added, “There’s like too many people and there’s not enough parking spots.” 

There appears to be some truth to that complaint. 

An open record request revealed OU sold 7,490 commuter permits this year, but there’s only 2,758 total commuter parking spaces. The report also shows the university sold 3,189 housing parking permits this fall but has just 2,074 housing parking spots. 

The campus also has 3,164 multi-purpose parking spaces that can be used by any valid OU parking permit, according to the records request.

Parking space information. Image from the University of Oklahoma Open Records Office.

Adding insult to injury, students say the cost of the permit isn’t cheap. The university’s website shows a commuter and housing parking pass costs $274 per academic year. 

“We pay a lot of money for the school. We pay a lot of money for the actual parking passes. So, it seems like maybe there should be some better options,” said Bailey Greenlee, a student. 

An OU spokesman sent KFOR the following statement regarding the situation: 

“The top priority of OU Parking Services is ensuring there are open spaces at all times. When selling parking permits, the university takes into account the number of available parking spaces by category – housing, commuter and faculty/staff – at peak times. While parking is at a higher capacity than it was during the pandemic, there are still hundreds of available parking spaces at all times.

There currently are no immediate plans to add additional parking on the OU Norman campus. However, two new commuter lots – one south of Headington Hall and one south of Sarkeys Energy Center – were added in fall 2020. Around that same time, the university acquired the Timberdell Road Parking Facility, which added more than 1,200 new parking spaces for OU Housing residents. Also, effective Aug. 29, the top level of the Jenkins Avenue Parking Facility was transitioned to multipurpose parking, available to those with a housing or commuter parking permit and adding 240 additional parking spaces. Additionally, free parking on the north side of the Lloyd Noble Center is an option for all OU students, faculty and staff. From there, the LNC Shuttle transports riders to Campus Depot on the west side of the stadium. There is no charge to ride the shuttle.”

Jacob Guthrie, University of Oklahoma Media and Content Specialist