Overcrowded parking has been a major complaint during the early portion of the 2018-2019 academic year. With a six per cent increase in enrollment from the year prior, Brock has seen an influx of drivers, which is causing all parking lots to be full and many complaints from students, staff and community.
Although parking was an issue in 2017, it seems to have only grown more significant this year.
This summer, Brock introduced free parking in Zone 1 and 2 during both weekdays and weekends. However, from September to April, both zones will only be free after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. This system has led to a price increase for parking permits for Monday to Friday between 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Yet, during the day finding a parking spot has become almost impossible if you do not arrive early in the morning.
Students are finding it more and more difficult to find adequate parking spaces, both on campus and in the lots that they have purchased their passes for. Parking passes are not cheap, but are necessary for some students that are required to commute.
Zone 1 for a semester costs $355 and $645 for the year, while Zone 2 is $291 for a semester and $484 for the year.
Molly Sutton, a first-year student in the Child & Youth Studies program, commutes to St. Catharines five days a week to Brock. Sutton’s classes can start as early as 9:00 a.m., which usually has her leaving her house at 8:00 a.m. and arriving at Brock at a reasonable 8:30 a.m.
Around 8:30 a.m. is when Zone 1 parking lot appears to be full and the only empty spots are found at the back of the lot. Sutton arrived on campus last week and searched for 25 minutes for a parking spot in Zone 1, where she purchased her pass.
“Parking at Brock could use a lot of improvements, the most important being more space. There are far too many student drivers for the amount of parking spaces or the lack there-of,” said Sutton. “Needless to say, I think that the parking passes are extremely over-priced for the minimal parking that is offered.”
When adequate parking is not made available to students, they are forced to park in a different lot or area of the school. This can, sometimes, result in a parking ticket if the student parks in a lot that they have not purchased a parking pass for.
“I end up finding a spot if I circle around the lot for hours until someone leaves, or I sometimes need to make my own spot if I run out of extra time,” said Sutton. “I have been late to class several times due to the lack of parking and so have many of my classmates.”
Katie Oberle, a second-year student in the Concurrent Education program, commutes from Vineland five days a week to Brock. Oberle arrives at school no earlier than 9:00 a.m. during the week and experiences the same problem that Sutton has almost every day.
“Commuting from home last year was no problem because it was always easy to find parking. This year my classes start a bit later than they did last year and finding parking on campus, where I won’t get a ticket, is one of the hardest things to do,” Oberle said.
“It’s very stressful finding parking and then almost having to run to class so that I can make it on time.”
Many students find that Parking Services at Brock is very well run, receiving the help they need. The only setback to Parking Services is that some students feel as though they have sold too many parking passes for the lots, forcing students to find parking elsewhere.
Karlie Hrick, a first-year student in the Child and Youth studies program, faces similar problems to students like Sutton and Oberle.
“I purchased a parking pass for Zone 2. I find that Zone 2 is a little bit better than what I’ve heard about Zone 1, but I still find myself circling around the lot in order to find a parking space, if I get there any time after 10:00 a.m.,”Hrick said.
It’s not only students experiencing the parking problem. Late arriving staff, specifically those who teach at multiple institutions, are finding it difficult finding a parking spot if they arrive later in the day.