Over the years, commuter students have sometimes questioned what the University has done to improve parking, and what they have done to make sure all students are able to arrive to classes safely and in a timely manner.
While the efforts to do this have not gone unnoticed, students today are asking whether they have done enough, and some are finding it more difficult than ever to find a spot and make it to classes on time.
“Parking has gotten worse from my first year at Monmouth to particularly this year,” said one editor. “It seems that even if you’re a half hour early to class you’re still stuck driving around the parking lot.”
Another editor said, “This is my senior year and the parking is worse than I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if it’s increasing class sizes or what, but its way more crowded.”
One editor said, “In my first two years at Monmouth, the only time I had a problem finding a parking spot was on Mondays at Monmouth, but now it feels like every day is Mondays at Monmouth.”
Students who have never had any issue with attendance have now been late to their classes, despite arriving to the campus early. “For a night class last year, I was driving around the parking lot for a half hour and was a half hour late to class because of it,” said one editor.
Another said, “Several times I have been on campus half an hour before class and I ended up being half an hour late to class because of looking for a parking spot.”
In 2016, the University recognized the parking issue and hired a valet parking service to remedy it, however with the institution of the service came other issues, which have left some editors untrusting and unwilling to use the service.
“I’ve never used them, mostly because I hear of so many people having issues with them,” said one editor. “I’ve never used valet parking. I’ve heard that they take a while to park your car and it ends up making you later in the process.”
Even though the valet service has had mixed reviews, the Student Government Association (SGA) hired a new valet service for the 2017-18 school year. One editor said “I noticed that the new valet service is definitely better than last year. I feel more confident in leaving my car with them.”
Even with the addition of the valet service, students have observed that 13, 14, 18, and 25, the main parking lots on campus, are often near or at capacity from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The University has addressed this issue by letting students know that parking at Woods Theatre is available.
Some staffers believe that allowing the lot in Woods for parking has done a lot to fix the issue.
An editor said, “Just because there isn’t parking in the lot that you want, doesn’t mean that there is no parking at all.”
Other editors feel that it is unfair to have students walk across major roads and be expected to make it to class in 15 minutes, especially after a long commute.
“I pay a lot of money to attend this University and have tried to save my money by commuting. I don’t think it’s fair that I must walk quite literally a mile to my class after searching closer lots for an extended period of time,” the editor said. “I don’t understand why my money isn’t going toward a better solution, when nearly half of 6,300 students here are commuters.”
Some editors argued that residential students do not need the amount of parking offered to them, since they are living on campus. “It doesn’t make sense that students living on campus, especially those who are from New Jersey, have access to three lots when their commute to school is walking under an overpass,” the editor said.
Talk of a parking garage has been prevalent among the student body when attempting to create a long-term solution. However, zoning issues in Long Branch, and a lack of space have made that solution unrealistic. One editor said, “I understand that the town or even the county would have an issue with a parking garage, however, why is it that we can have a brand new stadium with four stories and residence halls with three stories but something that half of the student population really needs is inaccessible.”
Agreeing, an editor, said, “I and many other students I have spoken to, commend the University on their quick fixes and appreciate it, but we need a legitimate and long-term solution for this issue or else it will only become worse. If the University expects to attract more students and grow as a school, there needs to be enough resources to accommodate them.”
Even though the University has tried to compensate the overcapacity parking with valet parking, parking at Woods Theatre and the library, and working with MUPD to notify students about heavy flow days, our staff agrees that a more long-term fix needs to be accomplished.