By WILL BRORSEN
To ensure that I can make it to class on time I have to leave early everyday not because of traffic, but rather due to the lack of available parking at the University of Mary Washington. It is a great feeling when you snag the last parking spot in the lot, and likewise it’s not so great when you have to keep driving to the next lot. Filled commuter lots cause competition for parking spaces, and even cause some students to stay on campus for hours between classes because they are afraid of losing their parking spot. Many students anxiously circle around lots hoping they can find a spot in time for their class.
The cost for student parking on the UMW campus is $225 per semester. When you get a pass you are informed of the few available lots that are actually available to students. At UMW most lots do not allow student parking at all such as inbound and outbound Double Drive, George Washington Hall lot, Simpson Library, the Anderson Center, Jefferson Hall, Framar House, Combs and Bushnell Hall, UMW parking garage top level, Monroe and the Marye lot. Many of these parking spaces remain unused while commuter lots are full, a frustrating sight.
Commuter student Adam Brooks commented, “I love where the commuter spots are because as a science major I have most of my classes in Jepson right by the parking.” Both the Alvey parking deck and the parking lot by Pizza Hut are the most used by commuter students, as College Avenue parking fills up quickly. These parking areas are on the same side of campus, and the largest lots available to students. If you are going to the west side of the Campus such as Alvey, Goolrick or Jepson you are in luck. However a walk from the Alvey parking deck to a class in Combs takes around 20 minutes which means commuters have to really prepare for the worst if they want to go the other side of campus.
Having a parking pass at UMW does not guarantee a parking spot anywhere. There are no reserved spots for specific students. Commuter lots fill up and students have to park in areas risking a ticket so they can make it to class on time. This has led to some students disregarding the parking policies. “It’s just not worth it, I’d rather pay a fine and not buy the parking pass,” said UMW freshman Lucas Prunczik. “I’ve parked in the wrong lots for days at a time and I only once got a ticket.” Other students have boycotted the parking pass and simply park in College Heights and the neighboring community, often putting them much closer to their destination than the commuter lot, with no $225 per semester sticker. With full commuter parking lots becoming an expensive inconvenience, alternatives have become more appealing for many students.