As students and faculty arrive back to school, parking concerns continue to remain present. Last year construction was a large contributor to making parking more challenging, but what is causing the shortage of spaces this year?
Ray Thrower, the new assistant vice president for campus safety and security with 35 years of experience working in public safety, believes the issue this year is routine.
“Based on other co-workers, this year is a normal school year and that it takes a couple of weeks for people to settle down and figure out where they park,” he said.
After weeks of admitted difficulty finding spaces on campus, some commuter students found relief when an email was sent to students from Campus Police. The email auctioned off 40 spaces in Parking Deck A, the parking lot beside of South Residence Hall and parking deck.
“After monitoring the parking lots and decks, we have determined that space is available in Parking Deck A for 40 commuter students,” the email said. “These spaces will go quickly, so the first 40 commuters to reply to this email will be allowed deck access before 5 p.m. This access is intended to relieve some of the parking congestion during the day.”
Junior Cydney Herring was one of those 40.
“I am so excited that campus police has allowed me to park in the deck. I am also glad that I saw the email right away and responded quick enough to get a spot,” she said. “Being able to park in the deck saves so much time and stress.”
In order to obtain the number of spaces being auctioned, Thrower said that his department “actually went out and physically counted how many spaces were open three-four times a day. We went with 40, we may expand it a little more as time goes on but right now we are still monitoring the impact of the 40.”
Thrower pointed out that parking is difficult to monitor because it varies from day to day and hour to hour. “You have to work out an average to make sure you have enough spaces for the intended people to park in there.”
Senior Arika Zimmerman doesn’t think that the 40 spaces provides enough relief.
“It feels like there is a lack of effort in helping those who live off campus get easy access to the wonderful things that Queens has to offer,” she said. “I live just over a mile from campus and I have to leave over 30 minutes early just to find a parking spot. It is frustrating to see so many open spots in the parking deck, while we are driving around looking for an available commuter spot.
“Forty spots helps but is definitely not enough. I am thankful for Queens budging and giving us a little more parking spots, but even more parking is needed and will be appreciated.”
Thrower mentioned that the location and property of Queens has a lot to do with the parking situation. “The reality is we are locked in on 35 acres, so parking on any urban campus like Queens is an issue.” He said rural campuses are able to expand outward, whereas Queens has to expand upward, which typically is much more difficult and expensive.
“I know that it is not an ideal situation, but we are trying to make the most efficient use of the space that we have, not only for employees but also for our resident and commuter students,” said Thrower.
In the end, Thrower stressed how important it is to be familiar with parking rules and regulations. “We try to keep the population as informed as possible to what is going on. I encourage people if they are not really sure, to go onto the website and look at the parking rules and regulations.”