Debates Arrive in Parking Shuffle
By Sara Marron
This year, three levels of the University Parking Deck located off of Alvey Drive are no longer available for use by residential students, according to the Public Safety and Community Support Services website.
Aggressive construction across campus has limited the availability of parking this year. Every day of the week, the parking deck will also be closed at 1 a.m. and will reopen again at 5 a.m. in an effort to promote safety, according to the website. Commuter students will receive priority in the parking deck during weekday hours on the first three levels.
For commuters, the reallocation of parking spaces allows depreciated stress, according to freshman Eddie Roget, one of 68 freshmen that commute this year.
“On top of my commute, not having a place to park would make it terribly inconvenient trying to get to class,” Roget said.
Upperclassmen commuters who have dealt with limited parking in the past, like junior Megan Ortiz, remark that the time spent searching for spaces severely detracted from their study time.
“It was impossible to find a place last year,” Ortiz said, “I would have to leave way before class even started. It took away from my study time.”
Senior Adam Shlossman expressed his desire for more parking spaces
“We really don’t have enough parking at all,” Shlossman said.
As a result of the sexual assault that took place during the Fall 2008 semester in the parking deck, safety is also a concern for students like sophomore Chelsie Adams regarding the displacement of parking.
“I had to park like a mile away from my dorm one night on Sunken Road,” Adams said. “I think it’s a little more unsafe to have us parking there.”
According to Adams, the spaces available to residential students as a result of the reassigned spaces for the commuters are located along roads that are secluded and not well lit.
“If I was down there by myself, I wouldn’t feel safe,” Adams said.
Other students have voiced their concern verbally, as well as through a Facebook special interest group entitled “Petition to Keep the UMW Parking Lot Residential.”
“Its scary down there!” junior Stephen Clenendin said. “It’s not well lit, and the gate is always open.”
A residential student, Clendenin said that although it is convenient for the commuters, it’s hard on residential students who are forced to leave their cars in a space for extended periods at a time.
“We are on campus more often; we live here,” Clendenin said. “Our cars actually have to stay here.”
According to David Sing, supervisor for parking and emergency communication, the University Police make their services available should a student feel unsafe walking back to their residency alone.
“All the students are told that they have access to an escort service,” Sing said. “If at night a student feels unsafe, they simply have to call an officer and [the officer] will come to pick them up.”
Operating nightly from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., the student escort services can be reached by calling (540)-654-4444. Students are encouraged by the University.