By Anna-Grace Rowland
THE Office of Communications at YCP sent a schoolwide email at 3:50 p.m. on March 8 to inform the campus that “the campus parking garage will close immediately for an undetermined amount of time for required maintenance. Commuters may park in the lot near Penn/Beard Halls. Overflow parking is also available in the rail trail lot across from the Kinsley Engineering Center, with shuttle service running to that location. Thanks for your patience.”
The commuter parking garage is located behind the William Business Center and Schmidt Library and has been one of the most popular places to park among commuter students for over 30 years.
With little warning prior to the closure, students were left with many questions regarding the reasons why it closed and why it happened so suddenly.
It became a hot topic around campus and, as you’d figure, many commuter students have their own take on the issue.
Grace Paulishak, a junior nursing major, lives on campus in Tyler Run 3 and she has been having a hard time finding parking in front and behind her building regularly “since now West Campus residents or commuters park in those spots now throughout the school day and even later too,” she said. Paulishak said that the competition for spots discourages her from using her car because she fears she will not be able to find another parking spot when she returns. She has had to park on Jackson Street due to this competition for spots, which makes her feel uncomfortable. She said that she’s hopeful that the shuttle will continue to run at all the stops.
A representative by the Office of Campus Operations who did not want to be quoted was asked that question by The Spartan. That person said the shuttle is fully operational and students are advised to check the app for times and stops, as the app has started working properly again.
Divine Maboundou, another nursing major, is a sophomore commuter student who has also been affected by the recent closure. “The parking garage being closed means that all of the commuters have to park in the same place. So there’s never any parking and you have to drive around forever trying to find a spot. Not to mention if you park in the ‘wrong’ spot you get ticketed even though there’s simply not enough parking,” she said, expressing her worries about getting ticketed.
The representative from the Office of Campus Operations said that as long as commuter students are parking in areas assigned to commuters and not violating any parking ordinances, then they should not worry about getting ticketed. Campus Safety will be issuing tickets for students not parking in the properly designated areas.
Micheal Reisinger, a senior IMC major, has had a longer walk to his classes than at any previous time during his four years here. “I’ve been parking close to the Susquehanna dorm rooms whereas before I would never have to park further than Beard Hall,” he said, when asked about how he was affected by closure. He’s already thinking ahead to graduation, and expressed his worries that the parking garage would not be opened and that his elderly family members would have to walk a long distance.
The Campus Operations rep put those concerns to rest by saying that they have already prepared for graduation in the event that the garage is not reopened by May 14. They said that additional shuttles will be in service on the date so that more accommodations are available for guests. Additionally, students should know that there will be a drop-off lane in front of the tents on main campus for family and friends to safely use. The representative also mentioned that golf carts are to be used to transport guests across the walking bridges from west campus.
The Office of Campus Operations said that the time frame for the maintenance of the garage is undetermined to due to the waiting period for quotes necessary to see what work needs to be done. In the most recent town hall meeting, students were told they can expect that the garage will remain closed for the rest of the semester but for now.
Officially, it remains closed indefinitely.
As it has been a month since the closure, students still have questions that are left unanswered. Some of the questions The Spartan heard from students was why there was little to no warning about the closure, whether refunds will be issued for commuter student parking passes and how often updates will be provided on the status of the maintenance.
Anna-Grace Rowland is a senior majoring in integrated marketing.