I turn into campus and start hoping that the “Lot is full” sign was mistaken. Maybe someone is just leaving McInnis, or even better, the library.
I barrel around the curves of Thomas Drive at a speed distinctly unrelated to the 16 mph limit posted. As I round the last curve, my heart sinks, and now my breath becomes shallow and quick. I am going to be late for class.
I start making the loop around the lot, fifth in a caravan of spot-seekers. We stop for a car to pull out, and I become fourth in line. Yes! But then, a van turning around near the building holds us up for several minutes.
We finally exit the packed lot, eight minutes after we had entered. As we head back toward NCH, a bulldozer trundles into our path, ostensibly to turn in a comfortably wide arc. Bulldozers, I fume, have no need for comfort. The gnashing of my teeth commences.
At last, we enter the lots near NCH. I parallel park near Workman Hall with lightning speed.
Snatching my belongings, I stumble toward the center of campus. My heels slide in mud from the construction. I right myself, only to slide again and land on the ground. Hard.
My 10 minutes to get to class has turned into 30 seconds; I am bruised and muddy, and I feel tempted to spew some very cranky expletives.
By the time I make it to Walton 201, I am eight minutes late, and my professor is raising her eyebrows at me, wondering what my problem is.
I know what my problem is. Parking in this place is ridiculously short.
I know what a good solution is, too. And surprise, it doesn’t involve a parking garage or haranguing the administration about everyone’s right to bring their car here. It involves a phenomenon I’d like to call the Booting of the Non-permitted Parkers.
Here is the deal: I spoke with Jack Sheehan, the director of Security, last week. He told me that many students without parking permits brought cars to campus after Christmas break, and even more after spring break.
In addition, students who have Valley Forge parking permits are parking at St. Davids. These cars are sitting in parking spots that other students have paid for. And let me tell you, it’s frustrating to be paying for a permit and then to drive past cars without permits while you loop around campus yet again.
It’s even more frustrating to get a $25 ticket for parking illegally after circling campus and discovering no spots in McInnis, NCH, Heritage, Doane or the gym.
So please know that if you are an Non-permitted Parker, I am cranky with you. I have done the late-night walks from Valley Forge parking lot. I have been frustrated by the necessity of finding a job within walking distance, which I did. I’ve carpooled with people I didn’t know to get home for breaks.
And now that I’ve earned upperclassman status, paid my fee and hung my little red tag on my rearview mirror, I am finding that Non-permitted Parkers are monopolizing parking spots without payment or permission.
I’ll be giving myself an extra ten minutes to park from now on, and hopefully I’ll score good spots. But there are many more students who have made arrangements and paid fees but find themselves shunted to the far corners of campus or unable to find a place to park at all.
Please, Non-permitted Parkers, have a little respect for us and realize that the rules apply to you, too. Either go through the proper procedure and pay like the rest of us, or get your car out of the parking lots.