A frequent criticism West Chester University students express about their campus experience is their difficulty in finding areas to park their cars.
“The parking is horrible,” says senior Chris Christmyer. “Unless you arrive here at 7:30 a.m., the parking lot over by Sykes is full and you have to park far away.”
“Far away” is the parking lot over by the Swope Music Center, which is a roughly 10 to 15 minute walk from several of the academic buildings.
This creates a big issue for students who take courses later in the day, according to Christmyer. “If you have an afternoon class, forget about parking on campus. You will likely be forced to use a parking meter.” Parking meters cost $1.50 per hour and for commuters who take multiple courses, it could become a costly endeavor.
Students who park without a pass or don’t pay at the meter are subject to fines ranging from $10 to $40. Christmyer feels that the fines can be stiff because “students already have to pay for a bunch of things and parking tickets just compound the problem.”
Currently, West Chester University has five parking lots across North Campus and South Campus. They also have four parking garages currently used for parking. The university offers $30 passes for regular student parking and garage passes that start at $200 per semester. West Chester also offers five minute updates on the parking services page that show images of each parking lot in order to help students find openings in parking lots. The University also plans on opening a new lot next year that will make it easier for students to find parking.
However, not every student is allowed to bring their vehicle to campus. The university states on their website that first-year students are not allowed to bring a car to campus and “Resident students with 60 credits or more and commuter students with 30 credits or more are eligible to purchase a North Campus permit. Residents of the South Campus apartments are eligible to purchase a permit for that area only.”
While freshmen are not allowed to bring their vehicles to campus, there is still a large portion of the student body eligible for a parking pass. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article published this past April, West Chester University has seen an increase of 20 percent in regards to enrollment over the past five years. This sudden jump in enrollment has increased traffic and the demand for more parking spaces.
However, it is not only students that face problems parking their vehicles. Professors also find themselves competing for parking like their students.
“Parking for teachers is minimal at best,” says Assistant Professor of English William Nessly.
“You are constantly fighting for parking spaces. I sometimes need to park over in the Matlack Parking Garage if I don’t come early enough.”
The parking issues have caused other professors, like Daniela Ciceri, who teaches Italian at West Chester, to arrive much earlier before they teach their first class.
“I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and my commute takes about two hours. However, I have to leave my home at 6 a.m., and arrive here at eight just to get a parking spot,” says Ciceri. “If I arrive after 8 o’clock, I have to park over by Swope. If I arrive after nine, I’m out of luck.”
Some students wish to avoid parking altogether. Junior Chris Markele, who lives off-campus, opts to walk 15 minutes to school every day rather than parking on campus citing that, “It’s faster for me to walk to class than to drive with a friend and find a parking space.”
If commuters find parking difficult, SEPTA offers bus and train options and students who live in dormitories can ride shuttle buses to campus.
John Angiolillo is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at JA859399@wcupa.edu and on Twitter @CornerPubJohn.