Millersville seeks student input on degrading parking situation

Students have been complaining about Millersville's parking situation since cars were invented. The new "Parking Task Force" created by the university is hoping to alleviate some of the stress. Photo courtesy of Diane Gallagher.

Ian Bourne
Staff Writer

Millersville University has been plagued by its own parking infrastructure for what feels like decades. Students sit in class and criticize. They grab food in the Galley and grumble. They study in the library and lament.

The university announced on February 25 that it will be relinquishing control of 149 commuter parking spaces located in the lower level of the Pucillo Drive parking garage to Penn Manor High School (PMHS). This is the result of PMHS’s three-year renovation project that is set to begin this upcoming summer. Chief of Police Peter Anders reassured commuters that,

“The Parking Task Force will work as a group for solutions to minimize the impact of not having the lower Penn Manor garage for the next three academic years.”

The closure of East Frederick Street has become a hotly debated topic as well. Many students have noted that the closure has vastly affected surrounding lots. As a result, the Parking Task Force, alongside the newly appointed Commuter Committee and MUPD, have been mulling over possible solutions for a while now, which has also included suggestions for the impending closure of the Pucillo Drive garage.

According to Anders, these proposed suggestions range from disallowing freshman to have vehicles on campus, to reallocating 70 resident spaces to commuter spaces in the James Street lot. The idea behind these solutions is to incentivize commuters to park in the lots that are said to be 50-80 percent available on a regular basis, according to Anders. Those lots being the Prince Street Garage and the lot behind the courts of the Student Memorial Center.

Even though these solutions may sound feasible, the biggest issue that must be addressed is the ratio of issued permits to available parking spots for both faculty and commuters. According to Millersville’s Official Fall 2018 Student Census, roughly 72 percent of the Millersville student population resided off-campus, which also includes Brookwood and Wellness apartments. There are currently 2,726 registered commuters for only 1,776 designated commuter spaces and 1,050 registered faculty passes for 755 available staff spaces.

That translates to only 2,531 total spaces for 3,776 vehicles equipped with a valid parking pass. Nonetheless, the discrepancy is a noticeable problem regardless of location and time of day, though Anders said that, “all students and employees are not on campus at the same time.”

Registered commuter, Kaitlyn Trexler, frustrated by this fact said, “They either need to have a limited amount of commuter passes that are given out or there needs to be more parking put into place.” On any given day it is a total mystery as to whether or not a staff member or student will be able to find a parking spot, which becomes more prevalent during the final weeks of the semester.

Aside from the obvious difference in available spaces and issued permits, there are plenty of other complaints from students that are aching to be addressed. The McComsey Hall parking lot seemingly being the crown jewel of all parking blunders. Since the finalization of the Lombardo Welcome Center, both students and staff have expressed their displeasure with the new configuration.

Current student, Christian Murgia said “I feel major parking problems began when they started building the Lombardo Welcome Center. Fast forward to this year and it hasn’t gotten any better.” To settle all grievances regarding this particular location, Anders said that the alterations made to incorporate parking for the welcome center were compensated for by transitioning two entire rows within the lot from faculty and staff parking to commuter parking.

Since the reconfiguration, students have observed staff helping themselves to commuter spaces. Millersville student, Hannah Elise Kirsch, mentioned, “I personally find it very frustrating when faculty park in a commuter spot due to the proximity of the spot to the building.” Anders said that “a regulation for ticketing staff parked in student spaces could be considered if proposed at the Parking Task Force and, if recommended, would be forward to Vice President, Gil Brown, for consideration.”

Anders, the Parking Task Force, and the Commuter Committee are seeking more suggestions from students and the Millersville community. If you feel as though your suggestion may be useful, you are encouraged to contact the Student Government Association to share your ideas.