By Shanleigh Brosseau, Contributor
It has not been a good start to the new semester for Laurentian commuters, what with parking prices increasing, lots being over filled and parking fines being issued. Laurentian University’s staff and students are more upset than ever with the parking issues, and have taken to social media in an attempt to have their voices heard.
“Laurentian parking is a joke this year,” wrote one student on UMentioned Laurentian, addressing the lack of parking. “Do you not know how to count and not sell more passes than you have spots?”
Another student took to the Facebook page to write, “[It’s] pretty bad when you have to leave early and give yourself an extra 30 minutes to find parking before classes.”
Sarah MacDougall, a graduate student and staff member who works with the Student Life Department, directed a tweet toward Laurentian on Twitter: “Time to address parking problem, not enough parking. Find solutions rather than paying guards to ticket students.”
Many students who park in Lot 15, better known as “The Pit”, were also eager to share their opinions on the issues. While many noted that The Pit is reasonably priced compared to other lots, they argued that overcrowding is definitely an problem. Students are finding themselves having to leave earlier in order to be able to make it to class on time.
When asked for solutions to overcome these issues, several students made comments about not overpricing the lots and not overselling passes. Others questioned the possibility of having more lots constructed or expanded.
“[They] need to pay attention to what [they’re] selling,” said a fourth-year student. “They just don’t care.” When asked about how parking on campus has changed since their first year, they remarked that “usually upper lots have this issue, but they’re so expensive that [The Pit] has gotten crazy.”
In an interview with MacDougall, she said that she believes there is no reason to ticket students and staff if there are alternative solutions like monitoring lots, closing gates to full lots, and redirecting traffic.
The beginning of the year is always the busiest for parking, according to Nicole St. Marseille, the Director of Security for Risk Management and Parking Services at Laurentian. St. Marseille explained that there is a constant flow in the parking lots due to academic scheduling and administrative business. “Every fall we almost always have a shortage of parking spaces,” she said. According to St. Marseille, over the course of the first couple of weeks, people become more familiar with their schedules and parking will be much more functional.
St. Marseille has been experiencing these parking issues at Laurentian since 2004. Considering Laurentian’s longstanding history of parking problems, students might hope that possible solutions are on the horizon. But when asked about the possibility of parking expansions or new lots, St. Marseille simply said, “I don’t see that in the future.”
Parking Services believes that the issue will sort itself out, but frustrated students want solutions now, even if the issues are apparently temporary. Will the overcrowding sort itself out? Only time will tell, according to St. Marseille, who said that, “With the students and staff that are here now, there is ample parking for the number of people on campus. As long as they don’t all show up at the same time.”
Photo by Shanleigh Brosseau