Lack of parking sparks student response

The continued lack of parking spaces on campus brings up the question of space management.

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Parking on campus has been a long term headache for faculty, staff and students alike.

Tickets are issued frequently, leading one to wonder: how much does the College make from tickets, and where does this money go?

Chief Business Officer and Treasurer Kent Dyer shared that “Parking ticket funds go into the College general fund to support the overall College budget. They are part of the overall budget which covers all aspects of the student experience from student services (i.e. counseling, health center, Academic Resource Center) to academic/curricular expenses and student programming to financial aid.”

In Sep. 2021, Dyer shared that “For the past few years, annual parking fines were about $4,000.”

Dean of Students Allison Williams acknowledges that parking on campus isn’t perfect, “Parking on all college campuses is an ongoing challenge. Muhlenberg is no exception and we continue to monitor parking conditions to see what adjustments can be made. That said, we have more available parking currently than we have in years past given that our enrollment currently is slightly less than it has been in several years and the College has several more employees working remotely more often.”

However, Dyer shared that “parking fine revenues are at $7,600 for this academic year.” So, despite decreasing enrollment, increased revenue is being garnered by parking tickets.

Many students and staff are infuriated by the lack of parking on campus, Emily Orlich ‘24 says there is “not enough!”

“This campus needs a parking garage.”

Grace Oddo ‘22

Williams says, “Some important reminders for all of us are that unless someone is disabled, Muhlenberg (and colleges much bigger than ours) is a walkable campus, even for most students living in MILES and off-campus. We need to all work to park in the lots designated for us and to walk between spaces on campus more frequently.”

One anonymous source says, “No one walks further than 10 minutes… Walk to class.”

SGA President Ben Eber ‘23 echoes this sentiment, saying “I understand the annoyance of having to park in Hoffman when you live in Brown but I do encourage people to walk and get our steps up. I encourage the campus to think about accessible parking for people with mobility issues.”

It is important to note that there are currently no designated parking spots for the health center, making trips to the health center difficult for those who are ill or have mobility issues. 

Commuter parking is another major issue faced by a significant number of students on campus.

Vivian Jaber ‘24 says, “All students pay the parking registration fee to have cars on campus, but… residents don’t need to move their cars multiple times a day, every day. Some people leave their cars in the same parking spot for days. With commuters, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a spot in the student parking lots, and with street cleaning Wednesdays and Thursdays even street parking becomes an issue.”

Williams acknowledges this issue, saying “We are working closely with Vivian Jaber and SGA to look at commuter student parking. Just as the survey results demonstrate, it is a major challenge for commuters when they have to plan significant additional time into their day for parking in order to attend class, workshops, etc. That directly impacts their academic experience and must be addressed immediately.”

Students also complain about having to purchase parking passes but without any guarantee they will be able to find parking. “It’s very annoying not being able to use the parking near my dorm building, and then still not having parking elsewhere, despite paying for a parking pass,” says Anna Hanley ‘25.

Williams says, “that also relies on students not bringing their cars if they are not registered, all of us being willing to park in the lots designated to us, and being willing to walk even when we might rather drive and park right outside the door of wherever we are headed.”

“Like I said, we are working to overhaul the parking system which will allow for better registration, better designation of locations and potentially a couple of additional locations, and better enforcement of parking rules on campus.”

Allison Williams

However, better enforcement of parking rules is likely to mean more tickets for students, another major source of frustration.

Gabe Sherman ‘23 says finding parking is “impossible, then when I find a spot I get a ticket.”

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Cydney Wilson ’23 is a Political Science major with a self-design major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Africana Studies. Being The Weekly’s editor-in-chief has been one of the greatest joys of her college experience. She enjoys writing about the subjects that make people angry, and hopes that her journalism will inspire change, both on campus and in the world.

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