Nowhere to park

Parking lots on campus are overflowing as more and more students drive to class daily, frustrating students and staff. The university has heard these concerns and is finally making a step to provide a solution.

 By the end of November, the overflow lot between North Campus Residence Hall and the parking garage will be transformed into a semi-permanent parking lot, according to Vice President of Student Life John King. 

The overflow grass lot is currently used for extra parking on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The grass will be removed, and it will become a gravel lot that is able to be plowed in the winter. The new lot will contain 40 to 60 spots. 

“The administration is aware that the last two weeks have been difficult for parking,” King said at a Student Senate meeting on Monday. “Last week was the first week ever in my 15 years here where I received complaints from all segments of the population.”  

“A lot of it has to do with taking 40 spaces offline at the overflow lot because of the wet conditions,” King said.

Other campus officials have also been dealing with various frustrations.

“It’s frustrating for everyone,” said Catherine Tobin, manager of parking and transportation.

“It’s frustrating for our officers. They see everyone out there going crazy.” 

Of the 2,204 student parking permits sold this year so far, 1,006 are for commuters and 1,198 are for residents, according to the Department of Public Safety. 

“Every year, the fall semester is the tightest. But this year is by far beyond tight,” Tobin said. 

Almeida and Baypoint residents driving to campus instead of taking the shuttle poses a large problem, according to Tobin.   

“What would be helpful is if the people who live at Almeida and Baypoint take the shuttle, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Tobin said. “That would free up most of the parking garage.”

Tobin said any students struggling with finding parking during the week can call Public Safety for assistance. 

“There’s a lot of issues with parking,” said senior Amelia DeMelo. “If [people] can’t find parking, people decide to park anywhere and then that causes chaos in the parking lot.”

DeMelo also mentioned that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the worst days to find parking. 

“I know I have a class Thursday at 11. I know I’m not going to get parking. So, I go right to the garage,” DeMelo said. 

“I personally make my own schedule so I can get here at 8 a.m. to avoid the parking issues,” DeMelo said. “After 9 a.m. you can barely get any parking.” 

As president of the Commuters in Action club, DeMelo is at the foreground to all the issues commuters face in the parking lots. She also leads discussions on the problems they deal with. 

“Through the club, once a semester I will host a meeting with Steve Melaragno [Director of Public Safety] and we talk about the issues with parking on campus,” DeMelo said. “He’s always open to ideas.” 

Some of the potential solutions they have thought of include changing when Public Safety is ticketing, when and where the shuttle services operate, putting arrows in parking lots and redesigning the lots to make them safer. 

“Director Melaragno and I have gone around and identified other spaces that are reserved in some capacity and now will take them offline and turn them back to either student or faculty spaces,” King said. 

“We’re trying to squeeze all the spaces we can out.”