– November 5th, 2012 by Aaron Hodge –
Parking woes force new lot to open
Pete Berthiaume, director of campus safety, and the Dean of Students, Dave Sauerwein, announced the arrival of a new parking lot to help reduce congestion on campus and hinted towards a stricter parking policy for students in coming years.
October 2, Berthiaume reiterated a message that was sent to all Lot K parkers via email Sept. 27: 40 Lot K parkers have been reassigned to the RS Lot, and an additional parking lot has been created to accommodate 30 Lot K parkers. Designated as “Lot P,” it is located across from the Windy Hill School.
The college has dealt with criticism this year due to the over-crowding and lack of parking spaces for permitted students, partially due to the cafeteria’s construction eliminating 48 parking spots in lot F for the fall. Some students are upset because there aren’t parking spots available to them, even in lots they’ve been assigned to.
As it turns out, there is a numerical imbalance in place.
Out of the 432 parking spots available to students, 513 permits were sold, an oversell of 16 percent. In other words, only 84 percent of the students who bought permits have been able to park in designated parking spaces, not including the new developments in parking expansion.
Regardless, students improvised maneuvers, resulting in a trend of parking on the grass as a last resort. Referred to as “green zones” by campus officials, they have had a lenient philosophy regarding such parking tactics.
“We’re allowing people to park on the grass for now until things get cleared up,” said Berthiaume Oct. 2.
However, he made it clear that once the pressure was relieved, they would start ticketing people for non-designated parking. This transition, which has already begun, has left some frustrated, including Genni Lockerby ’13.
“I went to Campus Safety as early as last week, and they told me to park wherever I could find, even if it wasn’t a designated parking spot,” she says, clearly irritated, “Yet, I’ve received two tickets in the past two weeks for parking on the grass, including yesterday [Oct10].”
While her parking ticket issued during the week of October 1 only stated she wasn’t in a designated parking spot, her October 10 ticket mentions that she should have parked in Lot P.
While this new option is available amidst the confusion, she is still upset at the administration.
“I paid $100 to park in K, now I have to park even farther away because they oversold. That’s not my fault, and honestly, I think I should get my money back.”
Unlike many students, she travels to work every other day, and what upsets her the most is not the fact that there aren’t spaces, but rather, who is filling them.
“I leave at 7 a.m., and when I get back, spots are filled up by a bunch of people who don’t have permits,” she says. “I may as well just start parking down by the duplexes.”
Congestion due to unpermitted cars has been a problem, according to Sauerwein, and the only way to eliminate it is through continued monitoring and ticketing. However, despite the addition of Lot P and the return of Lot F for the spring semester, he admitted that a change in philosophy is on the table for discussion.
“It’s no longer a matter of expanding; it’s a matter of limiting. We’re at the population level we like, so it’s time we start looking at other options, even if that means not every student can bring a car to campus.”
This could mean that parking will be restricted to first year students, or any number of variables. Either way, it is clear that not every student will be eligible for parking in the upcoming years, lest similar problems continue.
Annie Sabean ’13 likes the idea. “I think they should have done that this year. It feels like all the freshman have cars, there’s never any spots!”
Others aren’t as critical of the situation.
“I planned ahead; I knew parking would be tough so I bought a Pizza Chef spot beforehand for half the price,” says Molly Chesterton ’15. “I haven’t had any trouble with parking.”
While at times disorganized, things are beginning to transition to an orderly pace. But as the dust settles, and the grass begins to erase the tire marks, another project looms.
“There isn’t an emergency pole down at P Lot,” worries Lockerby ’13, “I mean, I know this is New London, but someone could run into a bear at night, you never know. Then what?”