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On-campus construction limits parking for students and faculty

Due to construction on campus this term and increased demand for parking spots, both student and faculty parking have become increasingly limited.

Since the beginning of fall term students have faced difficulties in trying to obtain parking permits largely due to the reservation of needed spaces for construction access. While Anderson Hall construction has been completed, Olin Hall is now being renovated. According to Grounds Manager Jay Stadler, contractors are using street parking and allocated parking in the stadium parking lot.

Despite Fall term’s parking challenges, Stadler and Director of Facilities Steven Spehn both stated that the parking situation has improved compared to last spring and summer when Anderson Hall was still fully under construction. According to Spehn, “At the height of construction there were close to 160 contractor employees coming to campus daily. We arranged for about 70 off-campus parking spaces at a City owned lot, which helped, but we also had to reserve the Laird Stadium and Arb parking lot for contractor parking which took these on-campus spaces off-line for other uses.”

The construction of Olin Hall is much smaller in scope than the Anderson construction. As of this week, there are around 30 contractor employees on campus, whose parking needs are being met by the City parking lot.

Additionally, the number of student parking permit requests has steadily increased in recent years, resulting in less faculty and staff parking on campus and increasing parking on city streets. “While we have heard of parking shortages on campus, I think the issue lies with shortages of parking in zones where staff and faculty would prefer to park. According to a 2008 parking study, our supply exceeds the demand,” said Stadler.

Senior Assistant to the Dean of Students Tammy Anderson said that the College has reduced the number of parking spaces available to students, currently 250, “to help manage parking for the entire Carleton community.” As a result, the number of parking spots for faculty and staff has slightly increased.

Limited on-campus parking has posed challenges to many students with cars, leading them to find parking spots at off-campus houses.

Alex Whitis ’20 is one such student who was unable to obtain an on-campus parking permit because there were no more spots available. He was placed on a waiting list, and was then told that if he could find somewhere to park his car off the street, that an off-campus permit would work.

Whitis coordinated with Dacie Moses house coordinator Julia Uleberg Swanson, and planned to park in the Dacie Moses driveway. He was later ticketed for parking at Dacie’s and told that students were no longer allowed to park there, which was information that the house coordinator and student workers had not been aware of.

“I tried to appeal this ticket but was told that Julia has no authority to tell people whether they can park there, despite the fact that it is a parking spot year after year and no one told her otherwise this term. So now, I park in the driveway of a friend who lives off campus,” said Whitis.

Other students, like Philip Hudson ’20, have also turned to off-campus houses for parking spots. “The parking situation seems, of course, limited, but I understand why the issue hasn’t been a priority for Carleton to address. There’s enough to do on campus already, and so there is no need to be leaving every day,” said Hudson.

Staff in charge of granting parking permits are not oblivious to student complaints and frustrations regarding parking spots. “We are sensitive to the comments we have heard. Now that Anderson Hall is nearing completion, coupled with our immersion into a circulation planning effort, we are making plans to perform another parking study that may provide much-needed feedback,” said Stadler.

The College, however, is not yet making any adjustments to parking spots available for students. Anderson explained that off-campus students who will return in the Winter will request a parking permit via the online request form, and parking will be assigned by date of request until all spots are filled, as is normal procedure.

“I don’t understand why Carleton is allowed to ticket cars displaying an off-campus permit for parking on an off-campus street overnight. Does Carleton secretly own all of the streets in Northfield?” said Whitis.

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