Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Here is a fact that cannot be avoided; there will never be enough parking at the University of Montana for the over 10,000 students, all the faculty, visitors, and the workforce on the campus, however, there are strategies and alternatives that can be utilized to find places to park.

After a rousing discussion about UM parking on the Talk Back show on Friday, KGVO News reached out to Dave Kuntz, UM’s Director of Strategic Communications for some answers to the problem of parking on campus.

Fact: There will Never be Enough Parking Spaces at UM

“One of the things that makes the University of Montana unique is that we are up against Mount Sentinel and the beautiful Clark Fork River,” began Kuntz. “However, that proximity to the mountain and river also creates challenges, especially including the limited space we have with parking and logistics and other factors. So, parking has been an issue here at the University of Montana, likely since cars were introduced to the Missoula Valley.”

Kuntz provided some important basics, such as the number of parking spaces versus the daily demand.

There are only about One-Third (4,000) of the Parking Spaces Needed on Campus

“I think we're in the ballpark of about 4,000 (parking spaces) which covers about a third of the folks who are here,” he said. “So we do have a number of people who commute each day not in the vehicle, in a car pool, or who take the bus in. We really reemphasize with our first year students who make up the majority of residents in our dorms to have their keep their cars in some of these adjacent areas to campus such as Missoula College and Dornblaser and leave the on campus parking lots available to daily commuters.”

Kuntz said University officials have worked hard over the years to find workarounds for the thousands of people looking for parking on the campus.

“We’ve taken a lot of steps here in recent years to try to alleviate that pain, with the biggest being a bigger emphasis on what we call our ‘park and ride’ lots,” he said. “These are parking lots that are at Dornblaser Field, just south of the university and Missoula College, across the river there on East Broadway, where students can park for a very, very small fee as it compares to parking on campus and have a shuttle that arrives every few minutes and brings them to campus.”

UM Planners are Always Looking for Ways to Add Parking

Kuntz said planners on campus are working to find ways to add more parking spaces.

“Those natural amenities that we have that make UM so special also provide some hindrance into our ability to have the big large parking supply that would provide a one to one ratio for the number of people coming to campus,” he said. “Over the summer, we'll be looking to add a few hundred more spots, and we will continue to look at other adjacent properties where we can build some more commuter lots. So this will just be an ongoing discussion.”

Click here to see the parking available on the UM campus.

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