News

Commuter Parking Problems Persist

news-parking-pg-1University Administrators estimate that there are currently 1,554 non-residential parking spots and roughly 4,000 non-residential students attending the University. This has resulted in commuter students and some faculty members having trouble finding a parking space in non-residential lots 13, 14, 18 as well as lot 25 open to non-residents.

For the first few weeks of school, parking valets have been added to these lots. Chief of Police William McElrath said, “For many years we have had valet attendants to provide customer assistance with traffic control and parking. They are here to assist with traffic flow in the parking lots and to help direct individuals to available parking spaces. They will also valet park vehicles if necessary.”

Even though no problems have been reported to the MUPD or Administrative Services, the parking valets have caused controversy. “I live five minutes from school and it takes me a sufficient amount of time to find a parking spot,” said Janine Averbach a non-residential junior.

“The parking lot this year is absolutely ridiculous,” said Jimmy Morecraft a junior who has been commuting for two years. “I have never experienced such anxiety over parking.”

According to Patti Swannack Vice President for Administrative Services, there are more students on campus during the first two weeks of school due to buying books or speaking with advisors. Having more people on campus has resulted in more congestion in the available parking lots.

This is not only a problem for students. Robert Scott, a professor in the communication department, believes that the parking valets are a positive step to helping the crowding amongst the parking lots. However, he had some trouble of his own with the valets. “Last week my keys were accidentally locked inside my vehicle. Not only was it an inconvenience to me and those assisting with unlocking my truck while standing in the rain, but it was a problem for those who were blocked in the process,” Scott said.

The double-parking of cars has increased traffic as well. “The inclusion of the parking attendants do nothing but add stress because cars get parked along where the traffic flows,” said Morecraft.

Officer McElrath has not noticed a rise in congestion or traffic related inncidents. “I am unaware of any increase in traffic accidents in our parking lots. If valet attendants have any bearing on motor vehicle accidents, I would say that they actually reduce them by assisting students to find available spaces, which cuts down on cars driving through the lots looking for spaces,” he said. news-parking-pg-4

Along with vehicles getting blocked in and alleged increased congestion, there has been talk about more car thefts due to the parking valets. If a student or faculty member wishes to have their car valeted, they can either hand their keys to the parking valet or leave them on the dashboard of their car. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable about leaving my car keys on my dashboard. I would be too scared that someone would see them and break into my car or even worse, steal my car,” said Jaclyn Franzi, a non-residential junior.

However, Officer McElrath commented, “We have no reports of thefts or break ins into cars in the nonresident lots since the semester began. We had two break-ins into vehicles last semester. Neither car was valeted. Both victims had left their vehicles unlocked. Monmouth University Detectives investigated the incidents, apprehended and arrested the suspect,” he said.

“Almost every parking space is used three times a day,” said Swannack. She said that Academic Affairs has been working hard to flatten schedules significantly. More non-residential students have 8:30 am classes this semester making more room in the parking lots for the rest of the day, according to Swannack.

No parking tickets have been issued yet because it is the beginning of the school year but warnings have been given out explained Swannack.

“I don’t know that parking is a bigger issue this semester than in previous years. That’s a question for the administration,” said Scott. “However, it does seem to be one of the more common complaints I hear from my students. Besides the creation of a new lot or a multilevel parking facility, I don’t know what can be done.”

Swannack said that maybe additional lots will be built in the future, but for now there are no set plans. “We are trying everything possible to not get a parking deck,” said Swannack. While a regular parking spot costs $5,000 a parking deck would cost $20,000 not counting the lighting, the security and anything else additional according to Swannack.

Officer McElrath welcomes anyone that does have an issue with the parking to contact him or other MUPD immediately. “We expect quality service from all of our valet attendants and we are always looking for ways to improve our services to the campus community.”