Overcrowded parking lots frustrate commuters, resident students

Overcrowding in the parking lots, which apparently stemmed from a rise in first year permit grants and illegal parking by resident students and commuters, has been a source of frustration for many Eastern students.

“I don’t think first-years should be granted parking permits,” said junior Kim Siegel. “First-years should build a community with one another. They can’t do that if they have the option to leave campus.”

Some commuters find first-year parking a matter of financial standing rather than community building.

“If first-years can afford it, they should be able to have a car to park on campus,” junior Mick Overgard said.

Some commuters believe residents should recognize their need for space in the lots.

“It’s annoying to sometimes find you need to walk from the outer rim of the McInnis parking lot with a handful of books to get to your classes. We pay $90 because we have to. Residents don’t necessarily have to,” said senior Princey Kunnel.

Siegel admitted that there are cases where resident students need a car.

“As an education major, I travel a lot and cannot always take the train to get to where I need to go,” she said.

Still, other commuters like senior Jeremy Kauffman happen to dodge the overcrowding in the McInnis lots simply by arriving just after sunrise.

“I have only had to park at Heritage once, but I do tend to arrive before the bulk of students do,” Kauffman said.

Campus security flags down the notion of any real problem with current student parking. According to Jack Sheehan, head of campus security, parking at Eastern has stabilized over the past few years.

“Between 1997 and 2001, Gough Hall, Hainer, NCH and Recreation Gym building projects pushed re-allocations of student parking,” Sheehan said.

Though several new buildings filled Eastern with more seats for learning, places to park stayed the same, leaving lots overcrowded and campus security with work to do.

Unable to accommodate all who wanted to bring cars, a policy was enacted in 2002 restricting first-year parking privileges.

According to the policy, first-years are allowed to park on-campus only if there is a documented medical, off-campus employment or academic needs.

First-years also have the option of parking at Valley Forge Military Academy, which is an 8-10 minute walk from campus.

“Illegal parking is a common thing campus safety comes across. But since the first-year restriction, fewer tickets have been issued,” Sheehan added.

Senior Ellen Ambler found little or no space in the lower lots of McInnis her first three years at Eastern.

She said that parking has improved this year, and since residents are provided spaces, owning a car on campus and parking should not be a problem.

“I am actually somewhat in between the permits for first year residents and the rest. Parking is bad at Eastern and a lot of it is due to too many permits issued to students. I live in Gough Hall and often find myself walking through the woods from NCH to get to my dorm because Gough lots are overfilled; however first years should have fair access to college resources just like the rest. First year residents who must park in Valley Forge lots have a bit of a hike to class,” Sophomore Lisa Fiorelli said.

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