Saint Mary's students face parking problems
At 10 p.m. on Sunday, Francesca DePalma was faced with a dilemna.
With no spots available in the McCandless student parking lot north of Angela Athletic Facility, she could leave her car in the Le Mans parking lot and face a potential ticket, or she can wake up at 7 a.m. to move the car.
Neither choice appealed to her.
"I didn't want to move it at night because it was raining, and I don't like walking by myself in the dark," DePalma said. "My first class isn't until 10, and I didn't want to wake up."
The 420 parking spaces available in the lot are not enough for all the cars registered on campus.
There are 508 residence vehicles and 157 off-campus vehicles registered with security, according to Richard Chlebek, director of security at Saint Mary's.
The lack of parking spaces forces students to make a decision between facing a ticket or parking illegally in the lot.
"I've noticed a general trend that every night when I come back, I drive around and can't find any spots," DePalma said.
A committee comprised of student body members, faculty and the student body president gave recommendations last year to the administration about parking problems. Over the summer, the administration took the recommendations and implemented some of the new parking policies.
The new parking policies do not allow students to park in the Le Mans parking lot from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays. Commuting students may park in either the lot by the Science Hall or the McCandless Lot and resident students may not park in any other lot beside the Le Mans and McCandless lots.
Chlebek said that one reason for the new parking policies is because of campus changes and renovations that will take place on campus this year.
"[The student body] needs to be more understanding and willing to make sacrifices to inconvenience during this process," Chlebek said. "There have been a few complaints — an individual looking at their situation and not looking at the whole community on campus, even though changes have affected everyone."
Many of the students upset about the policy are student teachers and off-campus students. Melissa Gornik, a senior who will be student teaching next semester, is concerned about the hike to to her classes.
"The walk is not so bad now and won't be so bad in the spring," she said, "but in the winter it will be."
A commuting student, Shannon Root, is also concerned about parking far away from her class buldings in the winter. While there was nothing that was really bothering her about the parking right now, "ask me again when we have five feet of snow," she said.
Board of Governance addressed the issue at its first meeting of the academic year last Wednesday.
"[We] are looking into the fact that students have had access to Le Mans lot in the past from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. and are trying to find a rationale," said Nancy Midden, student body president. "As a broader goal, we need more parking on campus. My personal feeling is that we need temporary parking established somewhere."
"A lot of students were upset because they weren't aware of the changes made by the administration," said Beth Beatty, off-campus commissioner.
Furthermore, parking needs are not being addressed.
"It doesn't look like we will get the parking spaces we need. We don't have that far to walk [on campus]. We need to be patient with everyone and the fact that we don't have the spaces," Beatty said.
Her committee is working on the proposal that students may park in the Le Mans lot from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m.
Beatty also noted that "students can go to the security director for special needs and they can be dealt with — the College is trying to work with everyone."
As for the problem of overflow parking, Midden hopes that the Science lot will be used.
"It is an important issue; we are taking steps to work it out," she said. "The other commissioners and I are working with [Chlebek] to come to a mutual satisfying agreement."
All News Stories for Wednesday, September 15, 1999