By Verones Padilla
SC Staff Writer
The office of Parking and Transportation recently announced changes in parking lot regulations.
The changes came from an effort led by Student Senate to create parking policies that would better serve students.
“Senate started this conversation November of last year. We were concerned that parking regulations were sometimes inconsistent and created safety issues for students,” said Justin Amann, Student Senate President.
Members of Student Senate and Residence Life met with Chief of Police, Robin Olson, and the Manager of Parking and Transportation, Rich Stoddard at the end of the fall semester to draft a proposal for changes. They all agreed that existing regulations could be improved.
Commuter students may now park in any available space that is not otherwise reserved from 3:30 PM until 2 AM with a current, valid ESU permit.
Residents may park in lots 38, 8, 9, 12 and 13 from 3:30 PM Friday until 2 AM Monday morning with a current, valid ESU permit. These lots were specifically chosen because of proximity to dorms. A campus map is available for students unfamiliar with the lot locations.
University Ridge residents may now park on campus in any commuter lot from 3:30 PM Friday until 2 AM Monday morning with a current, valid ESU permit.
“The changes were made with everyone’s best interest in mind. The idea was to open things up for students without jeopardizing the order or integrity of the parking program,” said Stoddard.
According to Stoddard, when the parking management program was first designed in 2008, the University designated all lots as “multi-use,” with no particular designation for anyone. The free for all parking created problems with “sharking” or people lingering in the lots waiting for spots to open up.
After outside consultants were hired to evaluate the university’s parking program, the University created the Commuter, Resident and Faculty/Staff system currently used. But many on campus still felt the system could be improved.
While a resident student could sometimes get away with parking at a commuter lot on a weekend, there were times when a full lot was ticketed. The inconsistencies were said to be an issue of manpower.
“We utilize the man power we have available, some weekends we just didn’t have anyone checking those lots,” said Stoddard.
The main concern of Chief Olson was to create a solution that was in the best interest of the students and their safety.
A study commissioned by the office of Chief Olson found that resident students do not often leave campus during the week.
They are more likely to leave campus during the weekend. Chief Olson believes that securing the lots closer to the dorms during the weekend will make it easier to keep those who leave campus safe.
Many students asked were excited about the news. According to Angel Rodriguez, resident and Junior, the changes will make life on campus a easier.
“Parking can be difficult because there just aren’t enough spaces and they are inconveniently located. Parking closer to the dorms on the weekends is a good safety measure against assaults on campus,” said Rodriguez.
Erika Dominguez sometimes shops on the weekend. “It will be easier to get around on the weekends, it seems like whoever made these decisions knew what we were going through,” said Dominguez.
The new regulations are effective immediately. All parties involved will keep an eye on outcomes and reevaluate the regulations if needed.
“Things like this are an art, not a science. Will this be a perfect solution? Probably not, but we are confident it is a step in the right direction,” said Stoddard.
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