Here at the University, commuter parking has always been a controversial issue. Commuters complain about the number of parking spaces and the administration tries to figure out ways to make the parking situation a little better. Over the summer, the main commuter lot was renovated and a new traffic pattern was installed.
The parking lot now includes parking spaces in the opposite direction, sidewalks, and better lighting. There are many crossings located throughout the lot that allows students to walk through without having to worry about a car not seeing them when they are walking. To an abundance of students and administrators this sounds safer and more efficient. Its design was to help alleviate the main concerns and complaints that commuters – now known as “non-residents”- frequently have.
The University and construction workers spent countless hours from the end of May through late August, trying to get the parking lot ready for the fall semester. They braved the high heat of the summer, the strong winds of Hurricane Irene, and even an earthquake, just to make sure the parking lot was done in time. Sure enough, the parking lot was completed for the fall semester.
For the most part, the overall feelings of commuters are split right down the middle. Some like the change, while many are not happy with it all.
Those who like it are happy that there are no more speed bumps and that there is more than one road leading towards the exit. Several even like the idea that the road next to the MAC is open and you can now access Lot 25 (the student parking lot near Plangere) from the main parking lot.
On the other hand, many commuters dislike the new pattern and many feel that there are now even fewer parking spaces, even though there were approximately 10 spots added during the construction. The parking lot fills up at 11:30 am, causing students to have to walk from the Athletics parking lot to campus.
In last week’s article about the commuter lot, Patti Swannack, Vice President of Administrative Services, said “60 employees were moved to other parking lots to make more room for students.” This was a nice gesture but unfortunately it appears the University still needs to handle a bigger problem – the surrounding community.
What the University desperately needs is a parking garage, but because of the surrounding community’s refusal to allow buildings to be higher than three stories, it cannot be done. There is also the fact that it wouldn’t exactly blend in with the beauty of the campus.
Non-residents dominate the school population, whether their commuting from a few blocks away or over an hour away.
For now, the only thing non-residents can do is to stop complaining and plan accordingly. If you know that it is going to take you a little while to park and that you may have to park far away then leave a few minutes earlier than you would.
Maybe it’s time for the surrounding community to finally understand that Monmouth University is an integral part of West Long Branch and forever will be.