Picture this: Upon pulling into the south entrance of campus, the clock creeps towards 9:30 a.m. A student’s 9:45 a.m. class will be starting soon. All they have to do is park and walk to Fine Arts. Simple, right?
This student’s hopes and dreams are immediately crushed when they scan the commuter parking lot, hopelessly attempting to hone in on an empty parking space. There’s one! Oh wait, it’s just a Fiat hidden behind a Ford F-150.
As time is running out and other commuters take laps up and down the aisles, finding a parking spot has quickly turned into The Hunger Games: Rider University.
With no spots available and time running out, this student has the option of parking in the yellow marked off areas of the commuter parking lot, or wait it out, and, ultimately, be late for class.
This student chooses the first option, only to return to find a parking ticket, while other students with different parking decals and visitors sit pretty in their parking spaces.
The situation above is one that I have experienced personally, which ended in having to pay a $40 parking ticket for not being in my designated lot.
Because of these parking woes, I have become accustomed to arriving on campus 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, early for my classes.
Living in Pennington —10 minutes away from campus — you wouldn’t think parking would be too big an issue.
As a freshman, I parked in the freshman commuter lot, located behind the soccer field.
Although the walk to the academic buildings was long, and dreadful in the winter, I now take that for granted because parking spots were always available, despite how small the lot is.
“I live in Hamilton, which is less than 10 minutes away from campus,” said junior journalism major Pauline Theeuws. “On days when my classes start at 8 a.m. I need to leave my house around 7:10 a.m. in order to find a spot in the commuter parking lot.”
Sophomore English major Stephanie Curreri said that she has problems “every day” trying to find a parking spot.
“My classes don’t start until 10:20 a.m. but I get [to campus] before 8 a.m. just to get a parking spot,” she said. “All my classes except one are in the [Fine Arts] building, which means I will definitely be late because of parking if I don’t get here early enough.”
There is a saying “desperate times call for desperate measures,” which Theeuws exemplified in a particular situation.
“I had to leave a note to let Public Safety officers know that I apologize for not parking in an ‘adequate’ area, but I wasn’t able to find any space at the time of my arrival on campus,” she said.
Keep in mind that students are experiencing this stress within the first month of the semester.
Students cannot predict the future. If there are harsh weather conditions or accidents on the road on their way to campus, resulting in traffic, they are most likely not going to get to campus at an ideal pace.
If they have no choice but to park in the first spot that they see, they are going to be forced to pay for a parking ticket, indirectly caused by a situation that was out of their control.
So, what can be done to improve this situation? A solution that may be beneficial is having the non-freshman commuter lot be accessible through swiping your student ID at the south entrance, similar to the faculty parking lots.
The booth at the south entrance rarely has a Public Safety official in it, except after 10 p.m., allowing any outside traffic to steal those precious parking spots.
Whether it be visitors, or just a community member who wants to buy merchandise at the school store, the BLC parking lot is easily accessible, especially for those who shouldn’t be parking there, forcing those who really need the spots to circle the lot in desperation.
Sophomore journalism major
Printed in the 10/21/15 issue.