The first month of the semester has been dominated by a number of grievances concerning transportation. Changes to bus routes made over the summer drew student ire, although the university’s response and subsequent adjustments left many students feeling better. Now the university is addressing some of the issues, students have with parking on campus.
Students, especially commuters, were upset that many places they used to be able to park were converted into 24-hour parking or Area 2 lots. Much of the change was concentrated on B Lot. This was especially detrimental to Fine Arts commuter students who relied heavily on parking at this location. Many commuter students are departing earlier and earlier for campus in the hope of getting a good spot that’s relatively close to their classes.
Now, UConn is responding. One adjustment is that Parking Services has elected not to start enforcing overnight parking until 4 a.m. (addressing a complaint that students were being penalized if they chose to stay late working in the library). They have also decided to only enforce Area 2 parking in the lower B-lot between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, with those spaces being available to other permit holders the rest of the time.
These changes are clearly positive for students. Now, anyone who needs to stay late to work on a project or study for a test will have the option to do so without fear of repercussion. Furthermore, the B-Lot changes give students a bit more flexibility. It still doesn’t help commuters that it’s Area 2 parking during the day, but it does open up more options for students who want to be on campus during the evening. Dwight Atherton, the director of parking services, indicated that if B-lot does not see much use by those who utilize Area 2 parking, he will consider opening it up to commuters.
For now, this seems like a fair compromise for students. The administration demonstrated that they are taking student complaints seriously and have put some positive changes into effect. Even with this action, however, UConn parking is still a big issue. The fact that people have to basically fight over parking in the first place shows how limited options are. The uncertainty with bus lines has further compounded this whole dilemma, although that looks like it is moving in the right direction as well. Patch jobs and compromises will only work for so long. UConn needs to take a look at serious changes they could make to the campus to open up new parking for students and make it easier for commuters to attend the university.