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Parking headaches for AIC commuters

Lot+A+is+now+available+for+commuters+who+need+a+spot+to+park.
Lot A is now available for commuters who need a spot to park.

Lot A is now available for commuters who need a spot to park.

Robby Ollari

Robby Ollari

Lot A is now available for commuters who need a spot to park.

Robby Ollari, Editor-in-Chief

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Most AIC commuters already have enough road rage thanks to the never-ending construction on I-91 and on city streets in Springfield. Now, some can add parking to their list of frustrations involved with getting from point A to point B.

While early-arriving commuters have had no trouble scooping up spots early in the morning, others have not had the same luck.

For those who aren’t aware, the building and Lot K at 1020 State Street have been closed for construction of a new facility for the instruction of Exercise Science, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Training.

With Lot K closed, faculty and staff parking has taken over Lot I on Maynard Street, which used to be a shared commuter/staff lot.

Now, commuters are left to fight for the prized spots that remain in Lot B (Oak Grove Avenue), Lot D (the Health Sciences lot on Reed Street), and now Lot A, a lot located further down State Street, away from campus.

Commuters who tried to access Lot I on Maynard Street during the first couple weeks of school were turned away.

Some commuters (myself included) have decided to just park on the street, as it’s currently not worth spending the money on a parking pass if it’s going to be a challenge finding a spot in the morning.

Others are a little on edge when it comes to parking on residential streets in the neighborhood surrounding campus.

Hannah Migeed, a Nursing student from Springfield, spoke of her concerns about the parking situation and ending up on the street.

“I know the parking itself is an issue, but for a lot of the female students, we don’t feel safe walking down surrounding streets, even during the daytime,” Migeed said.

Migeed estimates that 97% of Nursing majors are females, making their level of discomfort understandable.

“It’s really affecting our safety and security, which I think we have a right to when going to class,” said Migeed.

Brian Marcoullier, a Public Health major who commutes in from Agawam, tended to agree that the commuter parking situation has room for improvement.

“Don’t get me started,” Marcoullier said. “Honestly, that back dirt lot is chaos and they need to take those trees down, pave it, and measure out some actual parking spaces. I’ve seen multiple situations where cars are parked so that they physically blocked two to four other cars into their spaces along the fences.”

The back dirt lot Marcoullier is referring to is in Lot B on Oak Grove Avenue. Lot B is paved in front with measured spots, but the back half of the lot is dirt, has no measured or uniform parking spaces, and trees growing within the parking area along with a rough terrain just make matters worse.

“Honestly, paving that lot and having actual measured out parking spots would be so nice,” Marcoullier added. “And I guarantee that’s consistent with every commuter.”

Many seem to feel the issue at this time is a lack of spots for the commuters, as many arrive simultaneously or around the same times during the day, leading to backups and logjams, parking tickets and frustration.

Student Body President Dante Raggio, who also commutes, told me he understands all the frustration, but there isn’t much he can do at the moment.

“SGA doesn’t have any power to change the situation,” Raggio said.

Jeff Bednarz, AIC’s Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, wanted clarify the parking situation for commuters.

Bednarz made it known that Lot A, further down State Street, has been opened up as a commuter lot now.

“AIC makes every effort to provide secure and ample parking for students, faculty and staff. Designated commuter parking is available in Lots A, B and D,” Bednarz said. “Commuter parking has been relocated from Lot I to Lot A.”

Bednarz also wanted to clear the air a bit as it relates to the Lot I versus Lot A debate.

“It is worth noting that Lot I only contained approximately 20 commuter parking spaces, whereas Lot A contains 72 spaces,” said Bednarz. “Further, an additional shuttle stop has been created to accommodate students parking in Lot A.”

Bednarz added that two security cameras are active in Lot A for added safety, as well as the fact that the lot is patrolled regularly by Campus Police. He urged students to call Campus Police (extension 3333) with any security concerns or to request an escort to AIC parking areas.

Some may not be thrilled with having to take the shuttle after finally finding a spot in the morning, but that seems to be the solution as of right now.

Until more parking opportunities arise for AIC commuters, your best bets are to: A.) show up early, B.) park in Lot A and take the shuttle, or C.) park on the street and hope you don’t have a ticket waiting for you after class.

 

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Parking headaches for AIC commuters