by Diondra Clements
Still only a few weeks into the semester, some commuter students are already having to deal with traffic jams in some on-campus garages and parking lots.
For the fall 2017 semester, there were a total of 9,554 undergraduate students and 5,748 parking spaces, with a little over 900 of those spaces designated to faculty and staff, according to a Freedom of Information report originally requested by The Recorder’s former Investigative Reporter, Analisa Novak.
Predominantly a commuter school, the Central Connecticut State University population consists of only 24 percent of undergraduate students living on campus, according to the 2017-18 common data set.
It seems that often, due to such back-up in the garages, students are forced to factor in time for traffic coming to school, as well as parking time.
For example, Copernicus Garage, which has 1,611 spots, is rather spacious, but also quite far from buildings like Davidson Hall, Social Sciences Hall, Barnard Hall or Maloney Halls, according to the FOIA report. For many students, that can equal up to an extra 20 minutes of walk time.
“I come back Monday morning, and every single time it takes me 15 minutes to park,” sophomore Anna Sullivan said. I couldn’t even count how many times I’ve been late because of parking. I couldn’t imagine how bad it is for actual commuters.”
Fortunately for Sullivan, she only has to worry about parking when coming back from her hometown on weekends.
There is no information on the number of spots lost due to the Willard-DiLoreto construction. Because of the construction, there are only 97 spots in the F. Don James lot, forcing residents from Beecher, Sam May, James and Barrows Halls to all share those spots, according to the FOIA report.
One way the university has tried to curb this problem is by encouraging students to use public transportation to commute to their classes. There are UPasses and bus passes that allow unlimited access to the bus systems during the semester for every student. All a student has to do is go to the Card Office and show their student identification card to receive a pass.
The “commuter section” on the CCSU website recommends this, saying “you may find parking in a further lot, and using the CT Transit shuttle around campus may actually save time and congestion of the parking lots closer to your classroom.”
However, for some students, like senior Ashanique Owens, parking is not much of a problem. Still, Owens said she noticed parking has been a problem for other commuter students, unlike herself.
“I do think since Central is a commuter school, they should focus on parking on both sides of campus,” Owens said.
Knowing that CCSU is such a big commuter school, the university itself, along with professors, have encouraged students to make plenty of time in order to arrive to class in a timely manner.