Parking Problems: The Price of A Resident Parking Shortage

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

There are 32 parking locations on campus. Eight of these locations are residents only. Does that make any sense? Seeing that residents are the only people on campus that require their cars to stay on campus overnight, how are they expected to have the smallest amount of parking spots on campus? 23 of those locations are for visitors, 16 are for faculty and staff and seven are for commuters. 

Using that information does it make sense that I have never spoken to a student living on campus that hasn’t complained about parking? In the span of two days I had two friends of mine get tickets, and when I posted an Instagram story asking people if they ever got a ticket on campus seven people said yes within two hours.

Undecided second-year Cleo Goldamn parked in the visitor’s lot across the street from the Ashokan parking lot on Rt. 32, because the parking resident lot closest to her dorm was completely full. Goldman received a $25 ticket but was able to successfully appeal it.

Second-year English major Morgan D’Amore said that she had been parking at the Rt. 32 parking lot across from her residence hall since the beginning of the semester, “there was a sign in the north section of the rt. 32 lot that pointed to the other half of the parking lot which said resident parking so I parked there. I didn’t realize that it was pointing to the actual Rt. 32 resident lot which was 50 ft away and not connected to the original lot that held the sign.” D’Amore was given a $25 ticket, which led her to realize she had been parking in the wrong lot. She fought the ticket and it was successfully appealed. 

Which is surprising seeing that there are 1,358 parking spots available to students yet only 1,018 parking permits have been purchased for the year.

“For students, you purchase a parking pass, we have multiple parking lots across campus. If you’re a commuter student, you’re eligible to park in certain lots that you are a resident student, you’re eligible to park in any number of other lots. The theory behind the residents staying in the resident lots and the commuter students and everybody else in the other lots is, especially in the winter, plowing the lots so that the campus is ready at the beginning of the day,” said Assistant Vice President for Administration, Julieta Majak, when explaining the parking processes. “A long time ago, everyone used to just park together in different lots, and so they couldn’t come through. Sometimes students will leave their cars for a really long time. Whereas students that are coming every day on and off campus, and faculty and staff coming on and off campus, had a really hard time. So many years ago, they made it so that residents stayed in one lot. People that were coming and going stayed in another lot and that’s why there’s no overnight parking for those lots as well.”

Majak broke down how in previous years parking was not split up by resident, commuter and faculty and in turn it created horrendous traffic, that also required cars to stay on and drive more further polluting the environment. 

“Behind the library, the lecture center, the library and the AWC, there’s like seven lots. And it was just traffic all day. And so we took the parking map, and we sat down and we tried to systematically look at all the lots and try to determine what a good flow was. And we also took sustainability initiatives into account people driving all around their cars running constantly, like sitting and waiting for somebody to pull out. So one of the first things we did was say, again, with the lot counts, there is always parking in Lenape in 32, in Esopus. So you can drive right onto campus, park, walk to your class, end of story,” Majak said.

“For those people that truly didn’t want to do that, we created blocks so that like the lecture center, which was an especially precarious area, people drive quickly there. We made that  faculty staff because the thought was that they would get there and they wouldn’t move their car. So then we said we’ll extend that to faculty staff along with the Terrace parking lot. Then the next section of lots would become commuter lines so that the commuters knew they could get to campus, go straight there, see if they could find something if there was nothing there, then go to Lenape and then have a straight shot over to the academic hallst. So that was kind of the thinking behind it.”

Third-year environmental studies major Banks Collins parked in the Lecture Center lot when she had 10 minutes to get to class, knowing if she went all the way to a resident lot she would end up being late, she received a $25 ticket.

“I am going to fight it because I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to park there- I didn’t even see any signs. And I was parked there temporarily just for my two classes,” said Collins.

When the idea of resident parking in a non-resident lot to avoid being late to classes Majak said, “I have been told that our parking office is very good when they come in with a complaint or an appeal. They’ll say fill out an appeal. Explain the situation, but going forward, know that you’ll always find parking in Lenape and Esopus and Lot 32. You pull right in, you  park; it might be a little further of a walk. But the amount of time people take driving around you can just as easily park and get there and not get a ticket. So I do know that we always encourage everybody to go out and appeal for the ticket. The hearing officer is usually very, very helpful. With the right accommodations, you can always make your case in person I think.”

The parking committee is always looking for students representatives, they meet the third Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in joining can send an email to parking@newpaltz.edu with their name and year. 

About Zoe Woolrich 35 Articles
Zoe Woolrich is a second year media management major. This is her second semester with The Oracle. She previously served as a News Copy Editor, this is her first semester as News Editor.