GC commuter lot parking enrages students


Anjali Sehnoy | Digital Media Editor

GC recently re-designated commuter parking lots, leaving many students frustrated over the lack of parking.

“There is not enough parking for this entire college,” said Amanda Critzer, sophomore music therapy major on Bobcat Exchange. “Either make more parking for us or offer hybrid classes so that students are not suffering a possible grade for being late to class.”

According to an email from Kylie Cullars, assistant vice president of auxiliary services and organizational development, the N Clarke Street lot was re-designated as a combination commuter and resident lot in response to low utilization of the lot, combined with Bell Hall residents being displaced from the lot that was replaced by the new Integrated Science building.

In addition, the Thomas Street lot was re-designated as resident parking to accommodate Bell residents.

“The plan was vetted through the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee (PTAC) and approved at the vice resident level,” Cullars said. “Despite thorough review and planning that included all stakeholder groups, clearly, the impact of these changes has been larger than anticipated for commuter students.”

The PTAC is comprised of eight members: two faculty members from University Senate, two staff members from Staff Council, two resident student members from Resident Student Association (RSA) and two commuter student members from Student Government Association (SGA).

Maggie Railey, a junior nursing student and commuter, began a petition in August to incite action for more commuter lots after facing personal challenges to find parking like many other students.

“The parking situation is really frustrating, especially when you have classes that require you to be on campus all day,” said Railey in a message to The Colonnade. “I can’t park in two hour parking spots and there are no places left in the commuter lots, so I have had to park in the employee lot several times this semester.”

The petition on Sept. 18 had a total of 492 signatures with 14 people commenting underneath the petition that they signed because parking majorly affected their abilities to get onto campus and to class on time.

“Today, August 19, I had to be absent in my class because I could not find parking while searching around campus for over 30 minutes. This is a problem!” commented Hannah Fletcher on the petition.

Students have taken to Bobcat Exchange to share their personal stories of receiving tickets, missing class, being late to class or having to pay to park in areas far from campus because of the lack of commuter spots.

“I believe if I am driving an hour to come to this college, I should have the privilege of having somewhere to park within five minutes of campus without getting a parking ticket,” Cassidy Cook, senior psychology major, posted on Bobcat Exchange.

According to Cullars, GC’s Parking & Transportation office implemented a solution on Aug. 31 to alleviate the commuter parking issue significantly. The Irwin Street parking lot,designated as a “perimeter” lot, is available to students, faculty and staff. The lot includes 498 spaces — less than 10 of which were utilized on a regular basis before Aug. 31.

GC Parking and Transportation also added an express shuttle route from this lot, providing direct access to the shuttle stop at MSU. This route runs a continuous loop from the Irwin Street lot to MSU with departures from Irwin Street every 15 minutes. The route runs Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Since its implementation, complaint calls from commuters to the parking office have ceased, indicating significant success with the solution,” Cullars said in an email.