Campus expands while parking options remain

AQUINAS PHOTO / EMMA BLACK VEHICLES FILL the parking garage early in the day, forcing drivers to arrive earlier than planned. With parking pass prices at $200, some people find this frustrating.

AQUINAS PHOTO / EMMA BLACK VEHICLES FILL the parking garage early in the day, forcing drivers to arrive earlier than planned. With parking pass prices at $200, some people find this frustrating.

Published: September 18, 2015

FRANK LESNEFSKY
News Correspondent

The University continues to expand its campus with the recent addition of the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall, but some students feel that parking options remain limited.

As of the 2015-2016 school year, 454 students purchased a parking pass from The University. The University has one parking garage and 28 surface lots, 13 of which commuter students with parking passes have access to.

Don Bergmann, the chief of University Police and director of Public Safety, said The University has sufficient parking for commuters, but it may not always be convenient.

“There’s plenty of parking,” Bergmann said. “You’re just competing with other commuter students for what we’ll call ‘convenient parking.’”

If commuter students want a convenient parking spot, they should plan ahead and arrive on campus early, he said.

“I’m sure that commuter students will arrive early to get the better spots,” Bergmann said. “I would think all commuter students, based on the time their classes are scheduled, quickly learn where they’ll likely have to go for parking.”

Joseph Mayurnick, a junior who commutes to campus, wakes up early in order to get a parking spot close to his classes because he feels that many of The University’s parking spots are too far from campus.

“It’s disgusting that we have almost no parking within a close vicinity of all the classes, and we still have to pay $200. It’s outrageous,” Mayurnick said. “We pay enough.”

Students and faculty pay $200 a year for a parking pass, and staff members pay $100.

Two hundred dollars is “extremely reasonable,” Bergmann said.

“Commercial parking off campus is $80 a month, and The University doesn’t make any money on parking,” Bergmann said. “It’s just enough that covers our expenses to maintain our lots.”

Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, Marywood University is offering free parking to all commuters, but the parking situation is much different at Marywood than The University, Bergmann said.

“It’s a different situation at Marywood,” he said. “We’re a little bit more in the center of the city of Scranton, and this is certainly an urban area where we think we have sufficient parking, but it’s not always convenient.”

The University has considered the notion of free parking, but only in select locations such as Fitzpatrick Field, Bergmann said. Allowing free parking in “underutilized” locations like Fitzpatrick could incentivize students to park in the outlying parking lots and open up parking spaces closer to campus, he said.

Casey Foster, a sophomore commuter student, opts not to purchase a parking pass.

“I just decided that I would save myself money,” Foster said. “I take a little bit of a walk and park in the hills.”

Foster said some students may choose not to purchase a parking pass because they do not feel that they would use it enough to warrant the $200 cost.

“They’re not going to need to pay the whole amount because they’re not going to be on campus for more than a few classes or to study,” he said.

Megan Kolis, a sophomore commuter, said parking on campus can feel hectic at times, but overall she has no major complaints.

“I think in a city school, (The University) will find it difficult to satisfy all commuters,” Kolis said. “I just wish people wouldn’t park on the lines.”

Kathy Sanderson, the parking services coordinator at The University, said if a vehicle is parked improperly or is too large for a parking spot, the owner will be contacted and asked to move his or her vehicle.

“We will go and get the plate and try to contact the person,” Sanderson said. “ … mostly everybody complies.”

University parking lots are patrolled daily by parking service officers from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and The University currently has no plans to expand its parking options, Bergmann said.

“Unless The University grows or they increase enrollment, I don’t foresee expanding our parking resources,” Bergmann said. “If we were going to do that, we’d have to find some off-site locations and then come up with a method to get people to campus.”

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