Campus parking becomes a continuous issue for students

By Kaitlyn McCormick

Parking logistics in any setting tend to come with a slew of inconveniences and issues; however parking issues at Rider have been a major topic of discussion amongst students. Some of the complaints include cramped lot space, an increase in parking tickets and the hike from the parking lot to residential areas, especially now that temperatures are dropping and the sun is setting earlier.

Sophomore journalism major and The Rider News entertainment editor Amethyst Martinez is one of the many students who experienced issues with parking at Rider.

“I have been inconvenienced by the parking at Rider. … It’s constantly an issue for me every time I go to park my car,” said Martinez, recounting the difficulty in finding available spots in the residential lot.

Although the C/R/Z lot in the very back of the south entrance parking lot is open to all decals, it is also the furthest from most residential buildings, which can pose a problem for students, especially at night.

“As a female student, I feel extremely unsafe at night,” Martinez said.

Sophomore elementary education major Emili Dimoski shared Martinez’s hesitancy about the long walk from the parking lot at night.

Dimoski said, “The parking lots are so far away from the dorms, so when I’m coming back at night I have to walk alone, and that’s scary. … I’ve had people drive up and pull over, like men, trying to talk to me.”

Obviously, this specific facet of parking complaints is multidimensional and may not have one set solution. While Rider does use an emergency blue light system — lighted posts designated around campus that provide direct contact with Public Safety — the parking lots on campus are so expansive that the usefulness of these posts is questionable.

Regarding overall safety, Director of Public Safety James Waldon recommends students call an escort from the Bronc Safety Service or familiarize themselves with the number to call Public Safety directly.

Aside from overall logistical concerns, students have recently been complaining about the ticketing procedures at Rider. Sophomore music education major Sienna Grinwald-Alves explained that she has been ticketed in the past and found the appeal process frustrating.

Grinwald-Alves said of her appeal process, “I’ve never gotten a response … that’s how good the system is.”

Martinez believes the cramping in the lots and the lack of clarity about lot boundaries could be playing a factor in the seemingly heightened amount of ticketing complaints.

Martinez said, “There was no parking available [in the resident lot]. I parked at the end of the commuters parking lot, which I didn’t even realize was a separate parking lot until I walked out the next day and there was a ticket on my car.” Although this occurrence was recent, Martinez also noted a “lack of response” in the appeal process.

According to Waldon, parking appeals are handled by the Office of Community Standards, not Public Safety, and the process has been backed-up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented a summer appeals meeting.

Parking has also been an issue for various activities on campus, for example, late night classes and rehearsals for performing arts students.

Senior musical theater major and commuter John Viggiano is no stranger to parking frustrations at Rider, specifically in the Fine Arts lot for rehearsals that run late, for instance, tech week rehearsals that let out around 11 p.m.

“It is inconvenient that we have to walk all the way across campus to the BLC [Bart Luedeke Center] if it’s raining or snowing or something when no one is parking in that [Fine Arts] lot at that hour, and it could easily be utilized for students,” Viggiano said. “I feel like there’s some sort of workaround that they’re just not finding.”

Waldon ascertained that while students cannot park in the Fine Arts lot, which is designated for faculty during the week, parking is available for fine arts majors in both the Poyda and BLC lots.

Senior technical theater major John Roca noted that although parking is available in the Poyda lot, there is still a certain level of inconvenience making the walk from there to the Fine Arts building, especially at night. Roca expressed a frustration with the “lack of exemptions in the case of students parking in the Fine Arts lot.”

An email was sent to students on Sept. 1 with details relating to parking regulations. For example, the Fine Arts lot is open to all vehicles from 5 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. It seems, however, that there remains a clear lack in the spread of information to the student body about these strictures.

All of these complaints, and their breadth, beg the question of a comprehensive solution to parking stressors — if there is one. While Grinwald-Alves pitches the idea of expanding the parking lot entirely and Martinez hypothesizes the installation of a parking garage, there doesn’t seem to be an immediate, feasible solution to the physical logistics of Rider’s parking lot layout.

Regardless, it’s not unfathomable that some flexibility could be afforded without entirely deconstructing the safety and order concerns that establish parking regulations in the first place. While this issue may be seemingly small or inconvenient on the surface level, it is just another area in which Rider could listen to the experiences and input of students and attempt to develop a compromise.

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