The parking deck expansion is a go.
The South Orange Planning Board unanimously approved the project Tuesday night, according to Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services.
While there is no start date for construction, Gottlieb said she thinks the University will move forward quickly because the architect plans are finished.
The expansion of the deck is intended to address, in part, the shortage of parking during peak hours.
“We have a tough situation and are trying to work together as a community on this,” Gottlieb said. “The number one quality-of-life issue for students and employees is parking.”
To help alleviate the crunch until the parking deck project is completed, Gottlieb said, University officials are planning to have construction vehicles off campus next week and are offering permit parking on South Orange Avenue again this semester.
“We are trying to be creative about approaching this,” Gottlieb said.
Patrick Linfante, director of Public Safety, said the University also is limiting guest parking temporarily and directing students to legal parking on South Orange local streets when lots fill.
Additionally, if any student, faculty or staff member decides they no longer want their parking permit, the University will provide them with a full refund, Gottlieb said.
According to an email sent on Aug. 22 by Gottlieb and the Student
Services office, this year’s freshman class is “robust.” The email noted that parking during peak times is always a challenge, but due to the several construction projects, parking is even more difficult.
The email urged students to come early to class, carpool and be mindful that they will be ticketed if they do not display a parking permit.
“Those ineligible to purchase a permit will not only receive citations but also risk having their vehicles booted or towed from campus,” the email said.
According to Linfante, Public Safety has tried to be flexible about use of unauthorized space for parking, but now that add/drop is over, officers will begin ticketing.
“This should clear out some vehicles,” Linfante said.
Some cars have been found illegally parked on campus, Linfante said.
“We have begun ticketing cars that are violating fire lanes and other non-parking areas to make sure our campus is as safe as possible,” Linfante said.
According to Ann Szipszky, manager of Parking Services, there are approximately 2,400 parking spaces and 2,300 resident students, making it impossible to accommodate everyone.
“Despite our best efforts to educate students during open houses, campus visits and orientations, I think the thing that some students are surprised about is that you need 90 credits (senior standing) in order to be eligible to park on campus as a resident student,” Szipszky said.
While students, faculty and staff are typically understanding of the rules and regulations about parking on campus, Szipszky said, the space issue has made the search for parking more hectic.
“Hang in there and be patient, things will get better,” Szipszky said. “Try to arrive on campus earlier than you normally would given everything that is going so that you can find a place to park and get to class on time.”
For more information of parking permits, students can visit the University website.
Ashley Duvall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.