Parking Continues to Inconvenience Students

The Marist College Office of Safety and Security has tightened parking restrictions on campus due to current construction. Beginning in the fall semester of 2015, students with less than 50 earned credits have no longer been permitted to have a vehicle on campus.

The change in the parking policy was necessary due the reduction of parking spaces to accommodate the construction of the new science building and residence halls.

A survey of 135 students showed 90.4% of students believe that there is an issue with parking on campus.

“I do believe that Marist has done a wonderful job expanding the college to incorporate a bigger student population and unique opportunities for the current and perspective students, but Marist has not replaced the lost parking areas, which creates a problem for everyone,” said one student.

The Office of Safety and Security has implemented the “Golden Rule” of parking, which states that each individual is only allowed to park in the lot that matches the number on his or her permit.

According to a survey of 68 students, 72.1% of students find it particularly difficult to find parking in the lots that their cars are assigned to. Half of those students parked in lots that they were not assigned and 46.4% of students received either tickets or warnings from Marist for not parking in their assigned lot.

Director of Safety and Security John Gildard said that there are never any more cars assigned to a lot than there are spaces, but students still have difficulty finding parking.

“Even though I have a pass to park in Hoop Lot, I usually have to park across the street in Beck Lot because there are no available spots,” said Natalie Sosa, senior commuter student.

Students have to arrive on campus at least 30 minutes prior to the start of their classes in order to find a spot.

“I never had a car on campus because I did not want to deal with the problems and struggles my friends dealt with,” said Emma Peach, class of 2015 graduate.

At the beginning of the spring semester, parking assignments for students are not recalculated based on credits earned during the fall semester.

“It is too small of a window of time to recalculate credits for between semesters,” said Gildard.

Sophomores generally receive less than 50 credits and are not permitted to have cars on campus. Students living in townhouses with kitchens no longer have the ability to drive to the grocery store.

One student stated, “They are limiting our chances to get off campus without the need to be relying on a taxi service, which charges a minimum of $5 to the train station or the mall for one ride.”

Student Activities suspended the Ride with the Fox shuttle service last fall semester due to the low usage and interest from students. The shuttle service offered a $5 shuttle to the train station, Residence Inn, the mall, and Stop and Shop.

According to a survey of 53 Marist students, 62.3% of students used the shopping shuttle and 69.8% of students felt the discontinuation of the shopping shuttle severely inconvenienced students that do not have cars on campus.

“It definitely eliminates going off campus for me which is so inconvenient because I need groceries,” said another student.

The Dutchess County Loop Bus replaced the Ride with the Fox shuttle. The new bus system is shared between Marist and Dutchess Community College students. It runs free of charge Monday through Friday and provides students with transportation to local businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, the train station, and Residence Inn.

“Ride with the Fox was highly inconvenient but so is the new bus system. I do not feel safe going on the public bus and I’ve talked to many people that feel the same way or have used it and said it was an awful experience,” a student said.

Marist does not guarantee that every student will receive a parking permit in the lot closest to his or her residence. Students that are forced to park far from his or her residence do not feel safe walking from their car to their residence at night.

Gildard said, “I believe it [walking from parking lot] is more of a matter of inconvenience, so students claim it is unsafe.”

Sophomore Claire Mino has a car registered to park in the hospital across the street from her residence. She worked at a local restaurant and her shifts would often not end until 10pm or later.

“I felt scared and it seemed dangerous walking back by myself so late at night,” said Mino.

Security escorts are available from parking lots to residence buildings on a call basis. The Office of Safety and Security also provides an escort program, Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP), for all students and employees Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am.

Gildard said, “My job is to take what I get and make it work.”

The Office of Safety and Security has determined the locations of new buildings, how big they are and where new parking lots will be placed in a pursuit to improve the parking issues, but students are not hopeful that any positive changes will be made.

“As more construction continues, less parking will become available,” said one student.

By: Allie Beers, Austin Christensen, Taylor Romano, and Jackie Venuti

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