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Parking Problemas

by Kevin Saez

Editorial Cartoon by Melisa Vallovera

Over the years, Montclair State University has gone to great lengths to provide its students with the best learning experience possible. Yet, there is one area where the university refuses to see the need for improvement: parking.
   It is not a surprise that commuter students have never been thrilled with the parking situation on campus. For this reason, commuter students have long sought change to rectify the situation. However, for the first time ever, residential students have joined the fight for change, as they have come to see the downside of parking on campus.
   Residential students finally began to understand the struggles commuter students had been facing for years when
Montclair State announced that all residential parking would be restricted to the NJ Transit and Red Hawk Decks beginning in the fall semester. This restriction has led to the opening up of the lots surrounding the Village, Lots 45, 46, 47 and 48, to commuter students.
    The announcement of these lot changes were not taken lightly among the residential community and became a glaring problem as residents began to move in last week. It is fairly obvious that these changes were not the beneficial ones Montclair State students were seeking.
      The new changes in residential parking are just not logical. Lot 45, 46, 47 and 48 are just a short five-minute walk from any location within the Village as well as Sinatra Hall. With such a close proximity to both residence halls, it only makes sense to give resident students exclusivity to park there.
     No resident student wants to park far away from their residence hall, but with the new changes, residents unfortunately have no choice. Some residents are forced to park as far away as Red Hawk Deck, a 15-minute walk from Clove Road and the NJ Transit Deck, which is just as far from main campus. The university continues to point to the shuttle system as an answer to get students from their residence halls to their cars both “quickly and safely.”
     While some would debate about how speedy the shuttle is, it is undeniably an effective way for students to get from one place to another. However, the shuttle does not run around the clock. The Village and Transit shuttle routes only runs from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and on the weekend, only the All Campus shuttle runs.
      Clearly, the hours of operation for the shuttle cannot accommodate everyone’s needs and those people should not have to risk their safety to walk 15 minutes to their residence halls at night, not to mention how much more dangerous this walk will become as snow coats the walkways of Montclair State. These residents will arrive home after their 15-minute walk only to discover the slap in the face that is thousands of unoccupied commuter parking spots.
   Some lucky Clove Road residents have been able to overcome a late night 15-minute walk from the Red Hawk Parking Deck by buying passes to park in the NJ Transit Deck.  Yet, they have still not been able to overcome the problems associated with parking at Montclair State.
    During Labor Day weekend, the NJ Transit Deck will be closed. Any students who purchases parking passes through Montclair State will be able to park in commuter lots, but those who purchased their parking passes from NJ Transit are not so lucky.
   Those with parking passes from NJ Transit who have to go to their jobs will have nowhere to park when they come back and will be forced to pay additional fees to park in Red Hawk Deck.  Everyone who does not move their car prior to Saturday at 1:30 a.m. will be trapped on campus.
     Montclair State University needs to realize that moving  both resident and commuter students around to different lots will not solve any problems. The parking problem will only be solved when more parking spaces are made. Montclair State is one of the biggest colleges in New Jersey and needs to find a way to accommodate their student population, regardless of whether they are a resident or a commuter.

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