“The worst part of West Chester University.”
These were all statements describing the parking situation on and around campus at WCU. If you are a student at West Chester, or if you’re just familiar with the school, you most likely share this same sentiment. From the lack of street spots available to the plethora of tickets being dished out by the parking authority, we can all agree that this quote from sophomore Isabel Torres holds true: “Parking in West Chester is like playing the lottery — you never know what ticket you are going to get.”
I was first introduced to the parking saga last year, which was my second year at WCU. My first year was spent behind my computer screen as West Chester went remote. My sophomore year was the first time that I would take classes on campus, and as a commuter, I abruptly learned about the difficulties of parking while at school.
It was not even winter break before I had accumulated four parking tickets from my good friends, the West Chester Parking Authority. If you are not familiar, their job is to swarm like vultures circling a dead carcass, pouncing once they locate the smallest of parking infractions. Now the fact that I may have been committing parking violations, that’s neither here nor there. If anything, I should be getting a thank you letter from the Mayor for helping her fund the borough with all my tickets. However, the real question is this: where am I supposed to park? If most of the street parking requires expensive permits and the commuter lots are full, what should I do?
Now I know that I am not the only person that deals with the parking dilemma. Listen to some of these accounts from WCU students about their parking struggles.
“There are times where you just have to park where you’re not supposed to and pray you don’t get a ticket. The reality is sometimes you’re left with the decision of being on time for class or paying a $25 parking ticket. It’s an unfortunate reality, but there are just not enough places to park,” said Martin Meenan, fourth-year student.
“I had to pay $85 a month to have a secure spot to park in town, which I was forced to pay because I needed to get to work. The town capitalizes on students who have no other choice than to pay their ridiculous prices,” said Calyx Castel, fourth-year student.
The parking is so bad that it has become comical, and why shouldn’t it? Tickets are flying out faster than when you set a high score at Chuck E. Cheese. There have been numerous posts and memes from non-school affiliated West Chester accounts sharing student examples of their own parking traumas, such as this one featured on Barstool West Chester’s Instagram.
Now I am not here to offer any solutions. Well, maybe I am. You can go to Sykes and circle around the parking lot, essentially playing a large game of musical chairs with the rest of the drivers looking for a spot. You can locate meter parking and watch your wallet get thinner and thinner with each toll. Of course, you could also take the risk and park wherever you can find a spot, even if you don’t have a permit. Who knows, maybe you won’t even get a ticket, but you probably will.
Tommy Anderson is a third-year Communication Studies major with a minor in Journalism. TA946675@wcupa.edu