By Kaie Quigley & Claire Crittendon – Features Editor & Co-Editor-in-Chief
With only 266 spots for 714 resident students, the parking office has had its hands full this semester. In hopes of accommodating resident and commuter students alike amidst the pandemic, the parking office made some adjustments to their system this year.
Head of the Parking Office Michelle LeBlanc sent out an email to the community on January 20 saying, “due to the challenging times during this COVID pandemic, [we] have decided to extend the offering of a one-time, temporary parking solution for Resident Students. Since this is a unique situation, and the circumstances are well beyond our control, we are making exceptions trying to help ease the stress of parking.”
One way the office took action was to offer temporary passes to all resident students, even those who didn’t meet the criteria to hold a pass. This gave the opportunity to first-year students to park on campus, which has been against school policy until this year.
Junior Dante Torri received a temporary parking pass back in September. “We had to send in an email starting at a specific time. After we were told that we got it, we had to bring in our registration in order to get the pass. I didn’t have my car on campus [at the time], so [campus police] let me bring a copy of it.”
Torri is a Resident Assistant in East Hall, however, his temporary pass was assigned to Grove Street lot, all the way across campus. This was due to the lottery nature of the temporary system. He was not informed he was able to switch passes to obtain a space in a closer lot.
“It wasn’t too organized, but I feel like it was effective,” said Torri. “It was for me at least considering I sent the email in right away. The only thing that made me really anxious is that they sent the emails out late so I almost thought I didn’t get a spot.”
Sophomore Michael Woo, who holds a commuter pass, said, “it is always very easy for me to find a parking spot on campus, at least on… Tuesdays and Thursdays. There have only been a handful of times that I wasn’t able to get a spot in the lot that I first went to.”
According to Woo, the majority of the time he can’t find a spot it is due to snow, rather than another vehicle. “I have had difficulties with some spaces not being available because there are large amounts of snow blocking spaces in the de Witt lot… There were [also] a lot of STC spots that weren’t properly cleared after the last snowstorm. Many of the spots still had a lot of snow which made it hard to pull in.”
To combat this, Woo says, “I try to always give myself buffer time to get to campus before class so I [have] enough time to go to a different lot if one was full.”
Woo also felt that the “process of obtaining a commuter parking permit was easy at the beginning of the academic year. I simply filled out the form that was provided via email and picked up my permit from Campus Police.”
Sophomore Mason Haynes, like Woo, is also a commuter this semester. “As a commuter, I usually don’t have any trouble parking but the resident students I feel like don’t get the same treatment as commuters do when it comes to parking,” said Haynes.
The parking office’s flexibility, while appreciated by many, proves to be a work in progress.