Saint Mary students react to Spring 2022 parking guidelines // The Observer
At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Saint Mary’s students could be seen parking on large stretches of grass as the College ran out of space for their vehicles.
During the summer of 2021, the College decided to reevaluate its parking policies due to limited space, adjustments to the use of university buildings, a high number of students with a tight schedule of courses at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, to create more accessible parking for special guests and to protect the safety of students with late-night jobs or early-morning fieldwork, according to Phil Bambenek, director of security on the campus.
However, the College faced some issues after making these changes.
“We quickly realized that there were unforeseen factors, mostly related to people’s behavior in times of COVID. People weren’t coming to campus as often or for as long as they used to, so we had a surplus that may or may not be there once this is all over,” Bambenek said.
Due to the limited number of parking spaces, students were allowed to park on a large lawn adjacent to the parking lots if they could not find a space. After a semester of using this protocol, the College has updated its parking policies.
“With the experience of the fall semester in place, we have reassessed and made available additional parking spaces for resident students, while meeting the needs of all other members of our community in a way that, I think, will take us through the rest of the semester and hopefully through the end of the pandemic as well,” Bambenek said.
The updated policy brought commuter students closer to central campus buildings and also provided more visitor parking, while maintaining ample space for resident students to park on lots. Resident students, who occupy most parking spaces on campus, have also noticed changes.
“I haven’t noticed any significant changes, but I would definitely say it’s better,” said senior Eliana Sanchez. “Last semester people were parking on the grass, so it was complicated the first two weeks, but this semester there was no crazy parking like that.”
Although no student needed to park on the grass, some students are still unhappy with the parking lot.
“It’s so much better than last semester, but I still feel like there aren’t enough places. As someone who has lived in Holy Cross Hall for two years, it is a pain to constantly have to park in the Angela lot when there is nothing left in Regina. [Hall] a lot,” senior Abigail Pinnow said.
Students have also recently noticed problems with snow in the parking lots.
“There was no grass parking, but there wasn’t a lot of snow plowed parking as it should be,” said junior Alexia Ceja.
Both Pinnow and Sanchez noted how the recent snowfall has also impacted their parking lot.
“I was quite frustrated with the way the pitches were clear after the last snowfall. It took me two hours to dig my car out partly because there was still a solid two foot high wall of snow behind my car that I had to shovel out to get out of the still pretty icy parking lot,” Pinnow said. .
“Parking was difficult because of the snow, as the snowplow trucks make the show turn up in the back of the vehicles,” echoed Sanchez.