Parking problems plague campus: Ticketing and the driving culture on campus

By Jordan Mathieson
Staff Writer

ParkingThere are 833 student parking spaces on main campus. Deciding who gets to park where and how to enforce parking is a well known struggle at Saint Mike’s and often leaves drivers grumbling.

“Paying $100 for a pass then being unable to find a spot even remotely close my building on such a small campus is not ideal,” said Amanda Donahoe ’18.

At a campus meeting on April 24, the Parking Working Group, composed of faculty, staff, and students, opened up the discussion to the Saint Michael’s community.

To regulate parking, Public Safety has been using an enforcement-heavy model relying on ticketing and, increasingly, towing. Doug Babcock, head of public safety, said “we are not trying to make up the college deficit with parking tickets.”

The Parking Working Group proposed that main campus do away with zones. In this model, a main campus parking pass would mean Junior or Senior passholders could park anywhere.

“I love that idea,” said Rudy Galicia ’18, “I wouldn’t mind paying extra for that.”

Having the ability to park anywhere on main campus would mean that if a Zone A passholder can’t find a spot, they wouldn’t be ticketed for parking in Zone C, like one student at the meeting complained to have been this year. Upperclassmen who buy the general pass would then be nearly immune from tickets and there would be decreased reliance on enforcement.

Doing away with the four zone model would mean that instead of competing with the other 140 passholders in Zone A for a parking spot, you’d be competing with the other 566 people that live in the new building and suites.

Meghan Feenan, ’19, currently parks her car on North campus. When she needs her car, “I will physically run there at 7 AM, which sucks,” she said.

If parking on main campus were to be all general next year, Feenan said: “That would be awesome, but I would be upset if someone got a spot over me who did not necessarily rely on it for education purposes.”

Babcock calls the lack of parking on campus “an infrastructure problem”. Building more lots is economically and environmentally restricted.

Some people suggested changing the culture at St. Michael’s could solve the parking problem.

Students often use their cars to get around campus. Jon Milazzo, Parking Working Group member and Coordinator of Athletic Equipment and Game Operations at Saint Michael’s, has noticed athletes will drive to and from practice. He says “it’s a cultural thing, it’s a mindset that you have to use your vehicle to go where you want to go.”