AU students park in neighborhoods, create unsafe situation

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AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- There's nothing easy about medical or dental school. Even just getting to class is a challenge for students on the Augusta University Health Sciences campus.

"I don't know what neighborhood this is but I have to park on the side street up here," said Rohit Mukhi, a student at the Dental College of Georgia.

He's not alone either; cars line neighborhoods like Brown Street because the parking lots on the Health Sciences campus fill up fast, and students don't want to park in lots that would require them to take shuttles to class.

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"There's lots all around but when you have class at like 8 am, its tough to be taking shuttles and stuff," Rohit said.

The situation is not ideal for the people living in the nearby neighborhoods either.

"We don't have anywhere to park. Nowhere to park," said Cora Thomas, who lives on Brown Street. "It's just, the students have just taken over. And this is a private-owned neighborhood."

Cora says when it comes time for trash pick up or mail delivery, forget it.

"They'll move the trash cans and park, and then they won't even pick up the trash," Cora said.

Some of the neighbors even put up 'no parking' signs or orange cones, but even that doesn't seem to work.

Now it's not just annoying, it's becoming a safety issue too. Cora says her mother died just last week. She says the ambulance couldn't even get to her house because of all the cars parked along the street.

It's also a safety issue for the students. They have to walk over the train tracks that run along R.A. Dent Boulevard to get out of the neighborhood.

"CSX needs to put a fence over at the railroad track. That's what we've been told. Because it's unsafe even for them to go across that track," Cora said.

Augusta University says when students choose to park in neighborhoods instead of in designated parking lots, they do so at their own risk. AU says there's enough enough parking for all the students if they would just take the shuttle to class from the parking lots.

Augusta University's Summerville campus has also had its trouble with students parking in nearby neighborhoods.

Augusta University says it's increasing how often parking shuttles come by. They are also relocating offices and demolishing old buildings to make way for more parking lots.

Augusta University has also submitted a request to the University System of Georgia for a new parking deck on the Health Sciences campus.