By Kalli Colacino
With fewer parking spots on campus than there are registered decals, students circles around lots like vultures, sometimes spending upwards of 30 minutes trying to find a spot.
Off-campus and commuter students are the most affected by parking spots — or lack thereof.
“Everyone is fighting for a spot,” said Anisa Lateef, a sophomore biomedical engineering major who commutes to campus every day. “I allow at least 30 minutes for parking. It can take me anywhere from 10 to 35 minutes to find a spot.”
There are 2,643 parking spots in the parking lots allocated to students, and 3,043 student parking permits for all classifications of students issued for the current academic year, according to Luke Sacks, the head media relations officer at the College.
Both undergraduate and graduate students have access to park in lot 5, lot 6, the first two levels of the lot 7 parking garage and lot 17 (commonly known as the Education lot), according to Parking Services.
Students do not seem to be satisfied with the allocated lots. Some academic buildings are across campus from the available parking lots, causing an extra hassle for students. After searching for a spot, they can be seen sprinting to their classes to make it in time, sometimes in unfavorable weather conditions.
“I wish there was more parking near the buildings I utilize,” said Kenny Villanueva, a sophomore biomedical engineering major. “I’ve been 15 minutes late because of parking.”
Commuter and off-campus students are required to purchase a parking decal in order to legally park on campus. This decal, as of the current academic year, costs $105, which is unaffordable for some.
Administration is currently undertaking a parking study to review the supply, demand, pricing and policies at the direction of College President Kathryn Foster, according to Sacks.
“If the right move is made in regards to campus parking, everyone coming to campus would benefit,” said Michael Cordon, a sophomore interactive multimedia major.
In the meantime, students will continue to face the daily challenge of finding a parking spot.
“It’s never certain if you’ll get a spot or when you’ll get a spot,” Lateef said.
Some students have resorted to parking in the Panera or Campus Town lots in order to make it to their classes on time. By doing this, they run the risk of getting tickets and/or getting their car towed. Villanueva once parked in a visitor spot so he could get to class on time because it was the only spot he could find.
“The College is aware that parking on certain days during a semester can be challenging,” Sacks said. “We currently monitor the lots on a daily basis and on days of peak demand, adjust as needed.”
During the semester, the College sends out emails to off-campus and commuter students when they are expecting an increased amount of visitors on campus. These emails are notices for students to allow more time to find parking on those days. When prospective students and their families come to visit the College for a tour or an open house event, they often park in the lots reserved for students, as visitor parking fills up. This means that students have even fewer spots to park their cars.
“While I appreciate the heads-up, I don’t think I should have to account for more time,” said Riya Patel, a sophomore computer engineering major. “I’m already getting to campus earlier than normal, and then they say to come even earlier when technically I’ve paid to have a spot all year.”
In addition to the 3,043 registered parking permits, it’s not uncommon to see freshmen leaving their cars in Lot 7, where many students say they typically don’t get tickets from Campus Police. Students have voiced that the number of registered parking permits is not an accurate way to measure the demand for parking spots.
The College is aware of the concerns regarding parking, but the administration has yet to come up with an immediate solution to address the issue. Students are still left questioning what action the College will take to fix the issue.
“I love my campus, but I hate when there’s just not enough parking spots for everyone,” Lateef said.