Parking Problems


Kate Verity

Downtown Milledgeville is a popular meeting place for college students, locals, and people visiting the historic college town. There are several restaurants, boutiques, and shops that people love to visit. Keeping these establishments alive and thriving are the employees working tirelessly, many of whom are college students.

But the behind-the-scenes is not quite as blissfully blue-collar as some might imagine. Many of these employees struggle to find parking for their jobs, particularly those working at the Georgia College bookstore.

LiliAnn Pittman is a junior biology major who has been working at the bookstore since August 2021. Pittman has experienced firsthand how difficult it is to find suitable parking for a job at the bookstore.

Georgia College designates four parking spots for the bookstore. However, these spots are not reserved solely for bookstore employees. Even if they were, more than four employees clocked in at any given time. According to Pittman, these spots are also used by theater teachers and students. The back of the bookstore houses the Campus Black Box Theatre, which the theater department uses.

“They tell us to park in the alley, and then if you can’t find parking there, you’re supposed to park in one of the Georgia College lots- one of the commuter lots and ride the bus,” Pittman said.

Pittman has a “commuter” parking pass through GC, so she can legally park in the campus commuter lots and then walk to work. Other employees without these parking passes will have to try and park in one of the four designated spots or risk parking somewhere illegally and getting a ticket. Some of these employees got tickets before, and some have even had their vehicles towed.

Pittman herself has received two parking tickets and had her car towed once while at work. Combined, she says she’s paid about $250- $50 for each parking ticket and $150 for the towing. The City of Milledgeville issues the parking tickets, so they are $30 tickets. But if you wait more than ten days to pay a ticket, it goes up to $50.

This can be because with a college student’s tight budget, one does not always have an extra $30 readily available. Additionally, many businesses, the bookstore being one of them, operate on 14-day pay periods. By the time one gets their paycheck to pay off their ticket, a $20 penalty is already added, raising the amount to $50.

Nicole Young is another employee at the bookstore. She is a music therapy equivalency student at Georgia College, and she commutes over 45 minutes to Milledgeville for classes and work. She parks in the furthest commuter lot and often has to walk back to her car alone in the evenings.

When asked if she saw this trek as safe, Young said it was unsafe and hated having to do it.

“It is what it is,” Young said. “I know a lot of people feel the same way, where there’s no parking. Specifically for work, one of my coworkers on her first week, she parked in the back area cause that’s where we’re supposed to park, and her car got towed. It was just the worse experience for her, and she had a final that day.”

Young also believes that if the City of Milledgeville changed its parking rules a bit, it could benefit people greatly.

“I wish there were some maybe three-hour parkings instead of two-hour parkings cause that would make a huge difference for a lot of people,” Young said.

Not only are there just a few spaces designated for the bookstore, but there is very little parking in Milledgeville in general. Another employee, Angelamarie Weitz-Dray, is a junior accounting major at Georgia College. She tries to park in the two-hour parking garage behind the bookstore, but that is also difficult.

“Today, I circled around the parking garage like four times waiting for someone to come out because I saw someone get in their car, then they just sat there,” Weitz-Dray said. “So, it was very packed, then there was no parking anywhere downtown, so it was not fun.”

Weitz-Dray has not received a parking ticket yet this year, but she did receive one last semester.

Like Young, Weitz-Dray thinks the city ought to do something to help the employees struggling to find adequate parking.

“I think the city should do some stuff, especially about downtown because not only do you have to have parking for people to eat and enjoy the restaurants and the shopping, but also people that work there have to park somewhere too,” Weitz-Dray said. “I don’t think there’s enough parking for workers and shoppers and consumers.”