Op-ed

Can we talk parking?

Just about anyone familiar with West Chester University can relate to the outrageously large amount of parking issues on and around the campus—especially since parking laws and regulations have changed and the population on campus has grown this semester.

With the construction of Anderson Hall blocking off a significant amount of metered parking spots on Church St. and some on University Ave., many students and faculty are forced to track down parking spots in inconvenient locations far from their classes.

To make matters worse, the construction is causing an excessive amount of traffic on University Ave., Church St. and Rosedale Ave.—making it nearly impossible to arrive on time to class.

The University claims that “these projects are necessary to improve our community,” on its WCU Parking Services website—yet they are arguably ignoring the litany of other issues that have been caused by their approach to parking.

Currently, the majority of the 17,306 students enrolled at West Chester University, according to the school website, commute to the campus. On top of that, there are 729 full-time and 247 part-time faculty members at WCU—most of which commute often, if not every day, to WCU.

Students and employees are allowed to park in metered spots or purchase parking passes for various student or faculty lots on and around campus per semester or annually. The University also offers a shuttle bus that runs on a loop from North to South campus.

While all of this may have been an effective system previously, the current construction along with the increasing number of commuters is no longer a functional system. The lots and garages are constantly full, making the pre-paid parking passes unable to guarantee people parking spots. Additionally, the University’s parking services have continued to ticket people, leaving many students and faculty frustrated with the current parking situation.

“If I didn’t have my spot, it would take me 15 minutes to find an alternative option close to the school. I have tried to find spots before and I had to go up and down multiple streets a couple of times before I [either] gave up or finally found something,” said fourth-year commuter undergraduate student Adryana Gates.

“[I feel like WCU parking is unfair], because I can see that they have spent money on the infrastructure of buildings like the new business building, Anderson, Wayne and others, instead of creating another parking garage that fits enough people for the population,” said Gates. “They should create a parking garage or renovate the new street and other garages with little to no fees where students, especially commuters, will know they can park and not have to worry about missing important and costly class time.”

“I have a commuter parking pass,” said first-year graduate student Kyle Hinrichs. “The lots that I am allowed to use are way too crowded. I can never find parking and am circling lots for 30 minutes before I find a spot—if I even do find a spot,” he said. “Then, I result to parking somewhere else so I am not late to class, and I get ticketed.”

“They’ve sucked up a lot of $30 lots with these garage footprints,” said Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Brian O’Neill. “That’s another trend that I see—the replacing of regular spots with these much more profitable garages … and I think that’s a really bad step,” he continued.

“I think it’s irresponsible that they keep adding students without having a plan. People can’t make it to class! I think the administration needs to come to grips with this,” said O’Neill.

Emily Drossman is a fourth-year student English Writings major who minors in journalism. ED843805@wcupa.edu

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