By Matthew Kaufman
As The College transitioned back to in-person classes this fall, parking lots on campus were more congested than usual, leading to complaints from many commuters that it was hard to find a spot in the lots designated for them.
To address their concerns, Scott Sferra, the executive director of Student Accounts, announced in an email on Sept. 22 that the College would begin allowing commuters to park in two more lots on campus. In addition to Lots 5, 6 and 7 being available for commuters, Lot 4 will also be open daily after 10:45 a.m., along with the third and fourth floors of Lot 13, which is for the Decker and Cromwell residence halls.
“This semester, our commuter students have been having a difficult time finding available parking on campus,” Sferra wrote in the email. “While the college takes a closer look at long-term needs, I would like to announce two additional parking options to help alleviate the daily challenges for those commuters who are unable to find space in Lots 5/6 (surface lots), and 7 (Metzger Garage).”
Two weeks later, on Oct. 7, Sferra sent another email outlining further changes to the parking options for commuter students.
He wrote that beginning Oct. 11, commuter students will no longer be allowed to park in Lot 4, which had just opened to them on Sept. 22. Instead, there will be more options available in Lot 7, the Metzger Garage. Commuters will be able to park on the ramps leading to levels 3 and 4 of the garage, in addition to the parking spots on those levels. Sferra said that this addition would add 180 parking spaces. Levels 3 and 4 of the Decker & Cromwell garage will continue to be available to commuters.
Sferra cited “subsequent discussions with student, faculty, and staff representatives” as the reason for the new changes in parking arrangements.
At the start of the semester, many commuters were frustrated by the crowded lots.
“It was definitely very busy,” said Tristan Weisenbach, a freshman journalism and professional writing major. “Long lines of cars waiting to pull in the lots, lots of people circling the lots looking for spots.”
Freshman music education major Aaron Cender blamed the crowded lots for nearly making him late to four classes because he had to park on the third floor of the Lot 7 parking garage. He said the added lots have reduced congestion, but the problem is not fully solved.
“I think that adding the additional parking was very beneficial and now that the faculty parking lot opens around 10:30-11, it helps a lot too,” Cender said. “Most people still mass crowd [Lots] 5, 6 and 7, so sometimes I’m still having to park in upper parts of 7. As a music student who is in the music building, it doesn’t make sense to park in the other lot across campus.”
As Cender said, the newly added option of Lot 13 is on the opposite side of campus from the other lots and is not near any academic buildings, so many commuters see that space as a last resort.
As Sferra noted in his email, the College will be continuing to search for more long-term solutions to the congestion of the commuter lots, but commuter students will have to make do for now.
“We are confident these additions will provide an immediate solution to the parking concerns that the semester has provided,” Sferra concluded in his email.