Students should have more parking options with Academic East construction

Students+should+have+more+parking+options+with+Academic+East+construction

Sam Rosenblatt, Opinions Editor

As construction on Academic East progresses, it has left a glaring problem in the surrounding area of campus: during the week, there seems to be nowhere to park.

In our March 30 issue, The Bucknellian reported that the University will be losing 100 parking spots as lots are fenced off for construction vehicles and the Academic East project itself. The most notable change for students is the closing of Lot 48, one of four main lots located near the construction site.

Since closing this lot, there has been a noticeable lack of spots in Lots 45, 46, and 47–all prime locations to park for both students living in Roberts, Trax, or Kress Halls, as well as those seeking to park close to Bertrand Library or the engineering buildings.

With the significant decrease in the number of spots available to students, it can seem impossible to park in this area on weekdays. This forces students to park elsewhere on campus, such as downhill on Moore Avenue or uphill by the South Campus Apartments. However, both of these locations (as well as other options) can be extremely far away from their desired destination or residence hall, rendering the act of driving useless. Others may take the risk to park in staff lots, an act prohibited during the week but allowed on the weekend.

According to the University’s Parking and Traffic Regulations, the “University does not guarantee parking will be available.” In addition, school policy notes that the “responsibility of finding a legal parking space lies with the vehicle operator. A lack of a space where one would like to park is not a valid excuse for violating any parking violation.”

At face value these policies are fair, and students should recognize that it is a privilege to have a car on campus at all. However, it is not unreasonable to ask that the University to address the parking problems that the major construction project on campus has caused.

Next semester, the University will implement a new student parking policy that creates four zones based on a student’s residence hall. Students will only be allowed to park in their designated zone during the week. These are far from the only changes that the University should look to implement as construction continues.

The University should consider either constructing a new parking lot across the street from the currently closed lots, or allow students to park in staff spots for the duration of the construction period. This is not meant to diminish the importance of staff parking, but I think that allowing students to park in Lots 41 and 44 (located between Snake Road and Seventh Street and adjacent to Lots 45-48, respectively) could alleviate some parking issues.

We have a small, beautiful campus and should take advantage of its walkability. While driving to class fails to take advantage of this opportunity, it should not be so difficult for students to park near their residence halls if they want to.

For instance, Lot 39 (located behind Trax Hall) serves students who live on the RTK quad and sees egregious parking violations on a daily basis. Students may leave their cars unattended for hours at a time in spots designated for service vehicles, 15-minute parking, or in areas within the lot where it is clearly illegal to park. My hope is that such a change in parking policy would not only make parking easier for students, but also eliminate these violations, as students realize that they can still park relatively close to their residence halls.

Perhaps the new parking policy debuting in the fall will free up more spaces, but the University should also develop a solution for the 100 parking spaces lost due to construction. Otherwise, students with vehicles on campus may have similar complaints until Academic East construction is completed.

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