School is now in full swing and so is the infamous game of musical chairs, or, in Millersville students’ cases, musical parking spaces. Commuter and off-campus students who drive to campus and are required to pay anywhere between $35-$95 for a campus parking permit, are left to their own devices to find empty white parking spaces to house their cars while they’re in class. I’m one of those commuter students and I drive about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) to and from York every day.
When I arrive on campus Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings around 10:45 am, I’m left circling the parking lots and garages on campus searching for a single empty spot. My eyes are frantically searching through my windshield, hoping desperately to see a pair of white painted lines on the ground lacking an inhabitant. Most days I end up in the garage behind the football stadium, where students circle around like vultures, preying on the poor students walking out to their cars to leave, and then instantly claiming those soon-to-be vacant spaces with that dreaded flickering turn signal. Then there’s always the ignorant student drivers that make searching for parking even more frustrating. Just the other week I had finally found a parking space in the garage, only to see a girl standing in the middle of it, saving it for her friend driving the car behind me. I mean, seriously?
What happens when you can’t find a parking space in time to make it to class? You make your own, because that’s the only option left. I’ve seen so many cars parked on curbs, in empty space on the end of a row of cars, in the grass, and even sometimes on Penn Manor property. However, then you run the risk of coming back out to your car and finding a lovely little yellow parking ticket under your windshield wiper, politely requesting your donation of $25 to the campus parking fund, as if we’re not paying enough to the institution already.
According to the office of admissions, Millersville has a total of 7,466 undergraduate students enrolled, with 1,081 graduate students also registered. That’s a total of 8,547 students. The Department of Housing said that approximately 2,600 students live in the on-campus housing, including all dorms as well as Shenks and Reighard halls. With some simple math skills, one can determine that there are around 5,947 students enrolled at the university that don’t live on campus. Granted, that includes those students living in the off-campus apartments such as Wellness and Brookwood. However, that’s still a large number of students driving to and from campus on a daily/weekly basis.
The head of the Parking Division was contacted inquiring about the number of white commuter parking spaces on campus, but a response was never received. A campus with as large a community of commuter and off-campus students as Millersville has should be more considerate when implementing their parking regulations, or at least be willing to hear suggestions for improvement. And what would these suggestions for improvement be, you might ask? I have two in mind:
First, what about putting in additional lots or adding a new garage somewhere convenient on campus? I realize there isn’t a surplus of extra space around campus, but there has to be a little wiggle room to work with. What about turning the McComsey parking lot into a garage, or even the lot down at the bottom of the hill next to Roddy? Yes, it would take planning and permits and money and time, but it would be benefiting the majority of students and staff on campus whereas the new dorms that are going up are only benefitting a small part of the student body.
My second suggestion is sort of two-fold. What if the colored lines were eliminated so that all parking spaces were the same color? In addition, the fee for obtaining permits could also be abolished completely. This would make all parking like the street parking on Frederick by Gerhart or up by Jefferson. Without the divisions, everyone, including staff, faculty, students, and dorm students could park in the same spaces, therefore creating less of a demand for one certain color. It would make parking more convenient in certain lots. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked for parking in the McComsey or Stayer lots and not a single white space is open, however, countless yellow staff spots are available, the bright yellow paint almost like caution tape, warning you of the inevitable ticket you’ll get by parking there.
While there are some solutions that I’m sure are just not possible, there has to be something the parking division can do to make parking more convenient for commuter students. With so many changes being made on campus from a renovated library to new dorm buildings, parking should be on that list of priorities as something that a majority of the student body would benefit from. So please Millersville administrators, take a moment to think of us off-campus students the next time the issue of parking is brought up; we’re a part of the student population as well.