Parking space added, student opinions mixed


Photo by Samuel Northrup

Samuel Northrup, Editor-in-Chief

Utica College’s parking capacity will be expanding with an extension to parking lot B, located closest to Gordon Science Center and Romano Hall. The new space will add an additional 34 parking spaces, according to Director of Campus Safety Wayne Sullivan.

News of the expansion was first disclosed in a campus email from Sullivan on Oct. 13 and comes a month after the director told the Tangerine the college’s parking capacity was being evaluated through a parking lot survey. The extension will go onto the open grass next to Lot B where some have taken to parking on throughout the semester.

Sullivan did not give a specific date for when the lot extension will be open but did say it should be opened “within a few short days” as of Oct. 17.

“We found that on the busy day, which is Tuesdays and Thursdays, the heavy class days, that we were short on a regular basis even after the beginning of the semester smoothed out,” Sullivan said.

Parking overflows onto the lawn near ECJS, a luxury that will not likely be
afforded by snow banks in winter. Photo by Samuel Northrup

Sullivan admits his surprise that the parking lots in their current state did not have enough spaces, something he says is usually only an issue at the beginning of each semester.

“We were feeling it was going to be like any other year,” he said. “After the first week or week-and-a-half of school, things were going to settle down, and we would be in good shape. Early on, we saw we weren’t going to be in good shape.”

Student opinion varies on the new lot’s construction with the consensus that the increased space is positive but that the amount of spaces being added may or may not be enough

Junior E. Cole Amissah is a resident student but says it is important parking capacity is being expanded having been upset seeing commuters, many of whom are his friends, that struggle to find parking spots.

“I’ve seen, during the winter semesters the most, that usually commuters literally have to circle around the campus and then drive over to Strebel and even the residence halls just to get parking,” he said. “And I really think it’s unfair because some commuters literally drive an hour away and really don’t have time to get parking.”

Senior Johnathan Fitzgerald-Bord, a commuter who spends his time studying in Gordon Science Center, recognizes that the increased spaces can “lessen the load” currently in the parking lots but still feels there is not enough space.

“I mean if you look around outside when it’s the busiest you’ll have 50 cars, sometimes more, parking on the grass, parking where they shouldn’t be,” he said.

Junior Adam LaPorte, also a commuter, says the lot expansion will help commuters and keep cars off the grass but thinks more parking should be added in the area between Lot A and the practice fields.

“I feel like that’s where people park the most or want to park the most,” he said. “It’s just a grass field, I don’t really see any teams using it also, so I feel like that would be extremely useful.”

Graduate student Melanie Carlson agrees with choosing to expand Lot B, mainly because students were choosing to park in the open grass where the extension will be located, and thinks 34 new spots should be enough.

“It stinks to get rid of the nice grass space,” she said. “But no one really did anything in the grass over there anyways so I guess it’s better put to use if people are going to park there regardless. You might as well put spots there.”

For Carlson, the expanded lot will make a difference when going to the Gordon Science Center on days she has labs.

“We go off campus a lot for labs, and then we have to come back,” she said. “It wastes class time for us because we travel during lab time and then have to come back, so we waste a lot of time trying to find parking spots, and we end up having to park by Boehlert (in Lot D) and walk all the way.”

Sullivan advises students, faculty and staff to still leave for classes and work early if they are planning to park on campus, saying “it’s going to be tight parking.”