By Sarah Choate
With approximately 100 more registered student vehicles than student parking spaces, Asbury students are struggling to find places to park on campus.
According to Tracy Osburn, assistant of security and vehicle parking, there are approximately 606 spaces available for student parking and 717 vehicles registered to students.
Despite the numbers Osburn provided, there seems to be confusion as to how many students have registered vehicles on campus. “We appear to have an adequate number of parking spaces on campus,” said Jerry Marchál, director of security and environmental safety at Asbury. “But the allocation needs to be reviewed and possibly changed.”
Asbury freshmen and sophomores have expressed discontent with the current parking situation and have expressed that the underclassmen James Street lot (known as “the Cage”) seems particularly cramped this year. Marchál said that his office is still working to confirm the number of freshmen and sophomore vehicles.
According to the Office of the Registrar, there are 384 freshmen, 300 sophomores, 251 juniors, 280 seniors and 110 students classified as “other.”
These numbers produce a ratio of 684 underclassmen to 541 upperclassmen. All non-commuter underclassmen drivers must park in the James Street lot, while non-commuter upperclassmen have their choice of parking in three separate lots.
If the number of student drivers from each classification is consistent with the ratio of underclassmen to upperclassmen students, then student vehicles will definitely need to be rearranged to other parking lots in order to create enough space for everyone. Marchál expressed that the time seems right to shuffle around assigned parking lots to students in order to better utilize space.
Attempts have already been made to relocate some sophomore student drivers to upperclassmen parking lots. However, according to Marchál, this was not an official action made to free up more space in the underclassmen lots. Some sophomores who are close to junior academic standing have already received their purple, upperclassmen parking stickers.
Sophomores who did not receive upperclassmen parking murmured their displeasure.
Sophomore Heather Hollingshead said, “I hate parking…especially if you work and get back late…especially when you’re tired and just want bed.”
Holingshead highlights another point pertinent to Asbury’s parking situation: parking during sporting events.
The James Street lot is positioned right next to the soccer field and is very close to the Luce Physical Activities Center, which hosts many of Asbury’s sports. Because of its close proximity, many visitors park in this lot when they attend various sports events.
Since parking is already cramped, visitors parking in student lots put those lots over-capacity; no spots are left and people often choose to park in the grass.
When asked about the solution to this problem, Marchál responded, “This is a new problem for us, and, at this point, we don’t have a final solution. I suspect that the rear lot of the Luce is not being fully utilized by the visitors, especially for track meets and soccer games, which occur in front of [the] Luce.”
Marchál said that, instead of parking in the grass, students who are left without a parking space during special events should temporarily park in the commuter lot behind Akers Auditorium and promptly move their cars as soon as a space in their assigned lot opens up.
Although this is in violation of Asbury rules, some students choose not to register their vehicles with the university in order to avoid the student parking hassle. These students often park in front of houses on Kenyon Avenue and Maxey Street. Administration is aware of this issue, and Marchál sent an email addressing the problem on Nov. 11.
“To students who elect to park on these streets in order to avoid getting a student parking permit, this is a big disservice to the residents who don’t have the option of using a parking lot,” Marchál said in the email. “As a courtesy to the residents on Maxey St. and Kenyon Ave., I ask that you please not park on either of these streets at any time but rather park in your assigned student parking lot.”
In order to prevent future parking problems as Asbury continues to grow in enrollment numbers, Marchál gives this solution: “We are looking for areas that might possibly be developed for additional parking as well as the possibility of reassigning certain parking lots.”