With ongoing North Campus construction adding stress to nearby parking lots, some of the 21,000 students, staff and faculty who have permits could have even more trouble finding a place to keep their cars.
The Department of Transportation Services recently added about 130 new spaces to Lot 1, located near Knight Hall, after it was completely full on Aug. 31, partially due to an event at the nearby University of Maryland University College, said Executive Director David Allen.
But on-campus construction is the main reason for this issue, with DOTS forced to assign more people to Lot 1 this year than it had been in previous years due to lost on-campus parking elsewhere, Allen said. While he thinks Lot 1 filling up was a one-time incident, Allen added that the extra spaces — taken from neighboring Lot Z — are permanent.
“We feel like we’re not doing our job if for some reason, someone comes over to Lot 1 and they can’t find a parking space,” Allen said.
Last year, Lot 1 would consistently have between 300 and 400 empty spaces on a typical weekday, Allen said. Now, that number has gotten as low as 50, he said.
Students who park in Lot 2g, located near Eppley Recreation Center, were recently forced to move their cars to allow for the building of new tennis courts. The old courts were removed for the Cole Field House construction project, Allen said.
Last week, about half of Lot 2g was closed, and over the course of the semester, all spaces will be gradually taken away, Allen said.
Construction for the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, A. James Clark Hall, Cole Field House and the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation have all cost this university parking spaces, and about 550 spaces will be lost with the building of the Purple Line. About 2,700 parking spaces are set to be eliminated by fall 2018.
Marissa Gonzalez, a senior mechanical engineering major, has parked her car on the campus for three years. Construction of the Brendan Iribe Center made it complicated for her to commute to her summer classes, she said.
“I would suggest [DOTS] build more parking garages, so they can take up vertical space that they’re not really using anyways,” Gonzalez said.
DOTS announced intentions to build a 600-space parking garage during an RHA Senate meeting in February.
Patrick Talsania, a senior mathematics and mechanical engineering major, said he was frustrated after struggling to find parking on the campus. He has received “many tickets” for what he considers to be minor infractions, such as staying two minutes late at a parking meter, he said.
“I would definitely say that [DOTS] is overzealous with the enforcement,” Talsania said. “They can always get their money, but you can’t always get your parking service.”
DOTS is working to provide solutions to these issues by providing better bus, carpool and vanpool services, as well as instituting policies such as not allowing freshmen to park on the campus, Allen said.