The first week of the 2019 fall semester has officially begun. Students from across the nation have successfully made the trip to the Nutmeg State’s top public university. Everyone is moved in, textbooks have arrived, classes have begun and, as per usual, parking issues have provided new acquaintances a common grievance to bond over.
The University of Connecticut is a growing institution with a sizable student population and an increasingly occupied web of satellite campuses. With each passing year, an increasing number of America’s high school graduates choose to further their educational careers at UConn. And, with each passing year, it becomes more apparent that the school cannot provide sufficient parking to accommodate them all. Whether they live at home or off campus nearby, the commute is a part of daily life at UConn. And it always seems to end poorly.
The Hartford campus for example, now in its third year, continues to attract new students seeking to attend classes close to home and experience life in the city. The first lesson they learn is that parking in the city is wretched, and UConn does little to help. The passes are expensive, walking distances are exorbitant and the process of renewing a parking permit from semester to semester requires more preparation than most midterm exams. And parking services, frequently overwhelmed with a large number of students to assist, often leaves much to desire by way of efficiency in handling complaints.
For many years now, students from all campuses have complained of incredible walking distances from commuter lots—in a state not exactly known for mild winters. That is, of course, if a space is actually available. Many an exam has been missed by students who arrived early only to circle the block in search of adequate parking. Some students have been forced to scour multiple commuter lots before finding a space.
The university’s great solution to the problem: Beginning this semester students will be limited to a specified commuter lot — one pass, one lot. While this will likely prevent overcrowding of individual lots, it is unlikely to make students very happy — at least the ones who will be forced to park a greater distance from their ultimate destination.
This is a bad look for a university as highly ranked as UConn — and as well funded in tax dollars. The school has a lot to offer; and a lot of students to take advantage of. No use bragging about a large fan base if the stadium can’t seat everyone. Time for the university to increase overall access to parking and maintain flexibility in the process — given that a growing student population and its demanding schedule require it.