UNM medical students worry about safety due to lack of parking on North Campus

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Once the sun goes down, it is a long dark walk from Q lot to the University of New Mexico Hospital.

With several construction projects happening on North Campus, this is the reality for some medical students who have to report to UNMH.

“There’s no more open space,” said Barbara Morck, the director of Parking and Transportation Services for the university.

The projects consist of a new hospital tower and patient parking structures, as well as a new crisis triage center and multiple new clinics, all going up at the same time.

“We started getting emails letting us know, like, ‘hey, we’re starting this new building,’” said one UNM medical student who wished to remain anonymous. “We lost more parking there, and then they needed more room, we lost even more parking there.”

The student says the remaining lots where students can still park are far away.

“The closest parking is probably like a fourth to half-a-mile-away walk, and then even further than that, where most of us are in the Q lot,” they said.

While students say the distance is inconvenient, their main concern is safety. Some have to be on campus before 4 a.m. for surgery rotations, almost an hour before the first shuttles arrives at Q lot. So they say they have to walk to the hospital in the dark.

“Q lot is not in the most safe area, and just because crime has been increasing around the UNM area,” the medical student said. “I believe it was in June, we got a message saying that someone had been attacked and assaulted, just going to the new parking garage.”

The university says UNM PD is available around the clock to escort students and staff who do not feel safe.

“It’s a phone call away, and you can also use—there’s a smartphone application that is called the Guardian, and you can schedule it through there,” Morck said.

Officials urge staff and students to use those resources, especially since they say it could take two to three years to wrap up construction on north campus.

“A lot of it depends on the availability of supplies needed in order to complete construction,” Morck said.

UNM is hosting two virtual town halls for students and staff Friday, Aug. 12, where they can share their thoughts and concerns about North Campus construction.

Click here for more information and zoom links for those meetings, which will be open to the public.