College Life: Parking Frustrations from a Commuter Student

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Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief

I am not one to complain about a lot of things, but the past two weeks I have had issues with parking on-campus. Yes, I am a commuter student and residential students might say, “We are tired of commuters complaining about parking,” but guess what? I am going to complain and here is why.

      Ever since the first day of classes, I have had an issue with parking. It seems that around the time of 9:00-10:00 a.m., it is a struggle to find parking. The first day, Davion Washington, SGA president, stood out on the walkway, greeting students the first day. I thought that was so sweet of him and my mood was good. Then, as soon as I saw the commuter parking lot, there was not a single parking spot in sight, so I go to the dirt lot. When I get to the dirt lot, there is no parking, and now I become irritated and angry. Where else am I supposed to park? There is no other parking for commuter students! To tell you, I was so frustrated. I ended up parking behind Schewel in the little parking lot for faculty on one side, three spots open for grabs for anyone, and the rest for those living in the houses back there. I think the house numbers are 184 and 191, but I cannot quite remember, so do not count me on that. Of course, the three parking spots were already taken and there was one parking spot at the end for the 191 house, so I parked there. Feeling frustrated and hoping I would not get a ticket, I went to class with 10 minutes to spare. I hoped that I would not have a house member from 191 not get mad at me either. So I parked in that spot for almost two weeks, with not a parking spot for me in the mornings. NEVER try and find a parking spot around 9:00-10:00 a.m., because trust me, you never will, even if you get to school 30 minutes early.

      Another reason why I feel that the dirt lot for commuters were full is because students from the Annex could park there. Now, I understand the students from the Annex need a place to park, but the school provided buses for them to use to go over to campus, so that this would not be an issue for students already on campus with parking. Why could they not go park near the gym, where they are going to park anyways when they get to campus or take the freaking bus like the school wanted them to? Now, I know the bus hours for the Annex students were a little weird, so I kind of understand that, but seriously? Why couldn’t they go park on Lakeside Drive? But anyways, I will get on a rant about the Lakeside Drive parking in a few.

      Of course, Tuesday’s are late days for me, because I am working in the Critograph office until 8:00-9:00 p.m. I get to my car and I have a blue sticky note on it and it says, “Can you not f—— park here? That is my space.” I was so upset. I did not want to park in this parking spot because I knew I would upset people, but where else am I supposed to park if there is no parking? I also was very upset the next day because after trying to find parking for 30-35 minutes at school, I ended up having to park in that parking spot again behind Schewel. I texted a friend,  who knew who was living in that house, and made them explain the situation. Thank goodness, no other notes were left on my car.

      I am also infuriated a bit by the email that was sent out by the Office of the Dean of Students on September 13, 2019. The email stated:

 “Hello Hornets,

As you may know, we have a swarm of Hornets (with cars) returning from their time at the Annex beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 14th. We know that parking is already challenging on campus. Last year, we were gifted a new parking lot at Thomas Road, beside the Nest.  This parking lot is currently receiving upgrades, so it is not yet ready for cars to be parked overnight. However when it is ready, we’ll need to utilize it for our influx of cars. It should be ready by October 11th-12th (fall break).   

      The Student Government Association has recently proposed legislation to consider parking changes on campus.  But, until those decisions are made, we have asked faculty and staff to begin parking at our Lakeside Drive properties to make more room for our commuting and returning Hornets.  Campus Safety & Security has identified a few short term parking adjustments we can make, that might help improve parking for you without having to utilize the Thomas Road Lot, while it receives renovations.

      If you are a first year student, in addition to the Nest you will now be allowed to park behind Tate and Mont. So, if you have been issued a 2019 First Year parking decal, you will not be ticketed if you park behind Tate, lower Tate, Mont and the Nest.

      All 2019 First Year vehicles will be ticketed if parked other than in these locations. Other violations may warrant a ticket.  

      If you have a 2019 Commuter decal, these lots have been designated for your use: Westwood Gravel, Hobbs- Sigler (white lines), College Street lot located behind Dillard and the Thompson-Polloway lot (white lines).  Additional parking is also available at 1215, 1311 and 1405 Lakeside Drive. All 2019 Resident student vehicles must park only in the student parking spaces marked by white lines, if parked elsewhere your vehicle will be subject to receiving a ticket.

     If you have a 2019 Southside decal, please utilize the parking at your assigned residence so others on campus can utilize the on campus spaces.

      In addition the following faculty and staff parking areas (yellow lines) will now be open for any F/S or student with a valid University of Lynchburg parking decal, with the exception of First Year students during the hours of 7am – 5pm M-F: Chapel (Rear), F/S spaces on Chapel Drive (along Tree Line) and those F/S spaces along Westover Drive (across from the Alumni House, near the tennis courts).

      Parking, outside of the above bulleted points will still be enforced.  Beginning Monday September 16, a new e-ticket system will be launched. If ticketed, you could find the e-ticket via your email and it may be viewed, appealed and or paid on the My Parking Portal.

      We’re working with you, Hornets!”

      Here are my thoughts on this email. First year students: I was a residential student my first year, and granted I wanted to have access to parking behind Mont and Tate because I was club sport athlete but also was considered a sophomore/junior because of transfer credits, but never had that luxury. Anyways, back in my first year, I was always scared to park up there for five minutes before I had to go to Peaksview Park, 10 minutes away from campus for practice, in worry of possibly getting a ticket. I carried the teams’ stuff because we do not store our equipment anywhere. Why are they giving them this access now? Like I am happy for them, but we did not have access to this, so why now? I guess they listened to the complaints.

      Southside Housing: For those of you who live in houses and apartments close to campus, every commuter student would be grateful for you to please walk to class and not use spaces in the gravel lot and commuter lot.

     Freier, Shack, and “unknown name” new residence hall: Please park in your designated spots and once the new parking lot opens there.

      In this email. it literally states the same parking for commuters that we always have had, except with the addition of Lakeside Drive. But let me get this straight. You want us to park in these spots, when people from the Master’s and Doctorate level at the health sciences, are already going to park there? Also, these parking lots are 10-15 minutes walking to Elliot & Rosel Schewel Hall, so probably an extra two to three minutes for those in Hopwood or Dillard. At least there is some parking behind the new commuter lounge too.

      The school needs to do something about the parking issues. If we are going to keep wanting to expand and become bigger in class sizes every year, than we are going to have to get parking decks or more parking closer to campus for students to have. More students = more parking.