The Route 32 parking lot is currently under construction to expand the existing lot, Director of Facilities, Design and Construction John McEnrue said.
McEnrue said the parking lot presently has 435 spaces, and the current project will create an additional 140 spots by the beginning of next semester.
He said during the construction process, 35 spots will be temporarily usurped for the remainder of the fall semester, however it is not expected to impact commuter students because 100-150 spots remain open on a daily basis.
Studies continue to prove that an abundance of empty spaces remain on campus, which disproves the notion that parking is an issue for commuters, McEnrue said.
“The studies continually show that we have, roughly, 680 empty spaces on campus during peak times of the academic year,” he said. “We recognize that parking may no longer be available adjacent to some buildings, but there is ample parking within a relatively short walk.”
Samantha Ruffen, a third-year adolescent education major, said that despite the extra spaces available, she is still frustrated with the current construction project because it makes her commute stressful.
“It would have been smarter for them to do this during the summer when attendance is lower,” she said. “My commute is already 45 minutes. Now I have to leave an hour and a half to ensure enough travel time, parking time and walking to class time.”
The Route 32 parking lot expansion has blocked off the sidewalk across from the bus stop near the main entrance to campus, and McEnrue said it will re-route students’ paths from the parking lot to the center of SUNY New Paltz.
“People parking in the Route 32 lot will need to cross Route 32 in front of Hopfer Admissions as opposed to near the bus stop at the main entrance of the campus during construction of the Route 32 parking lot expansion,” he said.
McEnrue said in addition to the 140 additional spaces that will be added to the Route 32 lot, the current construction of the lot behind Lenape Hall, part of the implementation of the Facilities Landscape Master plan that redistributes parking space to the campus, will add 198 spaces that will be available to students in early December.
Although Ruffen is annoyed with the current parking project, she said the expansion is beneficial for the present and future students.
“With the increase of applications and enrollment of SUNY schools, due to lower tuition rates and the current economy, I do feel the additional parking will help in the long run,” she said. “It is just a headache to deal with at the height of the semester as a commuter.”