University of Connecticut students are expressing concerns about a number of changes to commuter parking set to take effect in the fall semester.
University officials say the changes were made in response to commuter concerns.
The most notable change – the addition of 150 commuter parking spaces on Discovery Drive in the new J-Lot – has been welcomed by some commuters, who struggle to find parking in the current allotment of spaces. However, many have expressed concern about the distance of J-Lot from the campus core.
In addition, the university is planning to begin enforcing new overnight parking restrictions in three non-residential lots – W-Lot, F-Lot and the joint Y/8-Lot. The restriction will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. each night. Students have wide-ranging concerns about this decision as well.
“Limiting overnight parking has been frustrating for me, just because I occasionally stay overnight with friends if I have early exams or something and there’s no where I can park my car without having to pay or walk a mile in the dark,” junior allied health major Sara Candito said.
Hayley Spector, a junior communications major, said she has concerns about the distance of the two lots designated for overnight parking – C and J lots – from the center of campus.
“It’s annoying because overnight parking is so far from where I’m going to be,” Spector said. “I would have to walk to my car at 2 a.m. from the library to C or J lot. It's annoying that they're enforcing it in lots close to where people will be late at night. Us commuters still do late hours in the library so it's frustrating that at the early hours of the morning, I would have to hike to C or J lot now in order to avoid getting a parking ticket.”
The university will also enforce parking bans in non-designated areas around Horsebarn Hill that have been used for parking in the past. Senior animal science major Mattie Harris said she is concerned about the new restrictions.
“I think it's a shame that UConn cannot provide adequate visitor parking for walking around Horsebarn Hill,” Harris said. “I have had a few visitors stop me while walking horses on the road asking if there is more parking for them near the horses or the cows so they can visit the public facilities, and I have to tell them no. We want to extend agriculture to the public, and there's no way to do so if there's no place for visitors to park.”
“I saw that they have put visitor parking signs up near the poultry units, but this is very inconvenient as it is not close to anything but the chickens, which are not open to the public. People will have to walk very far to get down to the calves or horses, and it is not fair that they need to travel so far,” she added.
Brenton Cantliffe, a junior mechanical engineering major, said the university’s plans to enforce restrictions around this area might not be effective.
“I understand the fact that the university loves green grass and that the parking there might be affecting their landscape ... but enforcing parking bans on an impromptu parking area that has existed for decades is kind of ludicrous, and I think it is just a response to budget cuts,” Cantliffe said. “There's still dirt student lots. Why can't we establish that as a legitimate parking lot and please everyone?”
The university designated the parking restrictions around Horsebarn Hill this semester because of the amount of traffic along the service road and the negative effects on the land nearby, university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.
These parking restrictions resulted from a collaboration between UConn Parking Services and the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The restrictions are in response to the impact of traffic on the land in this area.
According to Reitz, Parking Services is currently looking to re-establish parking in two locations. These locations may include parking for access to the entrance on the north end of the farm service road, Fenton Tract of UConn Forest and Nipmuck Trail.
Kristina Carretero is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.