No plans for student parking lot despite new campus building

By: Autumn Fehr

While many postsecondary institutions in Winnipeg have student parking on campus, Red River College Polytechnic Exchange District Campus (EDC) does not.

Instead, students rely on downtown parking or city parking lots, which can be both expensive and inconvenient. 

Parkades and parking lot rates in Downtown Winnipeg range from $4 (hourly) to a daily $15 max during the day. 

Students wanting to avoid the inconveniences of parking on campus use Winnipeg Transit or walk or bike. 

However, not all students have these options. 

Sharon Guo, a motion graphic design student at RRC Polytech, lives south of Winnipeg and has no other option but to drive. 

“To get to school, I would need multiple buses to get there, which can be three hours one way,” said Guo.

At the end of 2021, RRC Polytech opened a new building at EDC , Manitou a bi Bii daziigae. 

“RRC Polytech’s investment to expand the Exchange District Campus and build Manitou a bi Bii daziigae was intended to create a space that embraced technology, community, and creativity,” said Lauren Parsons, a college spokesperson.

However, the new building lacked an essential amenity students desperately need – accessible and affordable parking. 

The building is close to parking and other modes of active transportation downtown, so the college had no plan nor found a need to consider adding parking to the new building, Parsons said. 

Exchange District city parking is available for students at RRC Polytech. Many students must find street parking for their vehicles as there is not a designated campus parking lot. (Autumn Fehr)

To save money, Guo said she drives or gets dropped off by her boyfriend at school most days.

“I can drive here myself, but I drive with him because the parking lot fees are costly. A daily permit can be $18 per day, and a monthly permit can be, plus tax, $300,” said Guo.

Although parking may be available, these costs are substantial, especially for students with little disposable income.

For example, during a full week of classes, students paying the $15 daily max can spend up to $75 on parking alone. 

In addition to the costs, a max of two hours for parking is allowed on most downtown streets, which can pose a challenge for students in back-to-back classes. 

“The school should probably have a parking lot for students, staff and instructors to make it more convenient for us to come to school every day,” Guo said.