Parking has been a problem on campus for years, but officials adamantly claim that they are doing the best they can.
Steven Geraci, a commuter student at URI, expressed his difficulties parking in the designated lots on campus.
“I think that the commuter parking on campus is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately,” he said. “It is almost impossible in the morning to find a parking spot near the top of campus in the designated commuter lots. I have already received warning tickets from parking services saying that they will tow my car if I park illegally one more time.” Geraci claimed that he tries to park in the commuter lots, but since they are always full, he ends up parking wherever he can.
Kathryn Brennan, a parking services information aid, explained how parking services is enforcing the same rules that they have always had, and she does not believe that enforcement this semester is any different or harsher than previous years. Brennan claimed that she hears students say that “there is not enough parking,” yet the campus encompasses a multitude of lots.
Brittany Borkum, sophomore at URI, has a parking pass for her car on campus, but disagrees that there are not enough lots for students on campus.
“I feel like the incoming freshman classes are growing each year, and there’s definitely not enough parking spots for everyone on campus,” she said. “I think parking services needs to understand there aren’t enough spots for everyone, and being towed is just plain mean.”
Although the freshman class is larger than normal this year, Brennan claimed that in respect to parking permits, “we are right on target with sales compared to last year at this time.”
Brian Myette, URI student, discussed how his car was towed last year without him even knowing. Although he received an email with a warning, he was unaware that his car was towed for five days, and ended up with a large sum of late fees.
Although J&D’s, the towing company URI contracts with, would not comment on the subject, Brennan said that each tow is “approximately a little more than a hundred dollars,” and each day the student fails to pick up the car, there is an additional storage fee added to that.
“My suggestion to students would be to park in the Plains Road lot,” Brennan said. “It’s never full, and instead of parking illegally, students can park there and take the shuttle to the top of campus if they’d like.” She described the Plains Road lot, which is on the edge of campus past the Ryan Center, as a “no-stress lot.” Although it is a far walk during the winter months, the RIPTA supervisor is working to be on site more, Brennan said.
Brennan also suggested that students should not park in the Emporium or dirt lot at the top of campus. She said that the Emporium’s towing service tows more cars than parking services because they want to make sure their lots are open to their retail customers.
Students have also questioned why the URI Providence campus has free parking, yet the Kingston campus does not. The fee is $250 to own a residence parking permit and $175 for a commuter permit. Brennan explained how the master plan for parking was constructed a long time ago, and parking services did not have a say in where the lots were established. On the Kingston campus, it is required to pay for parking in order for the university to monitor the large number of lots. Brennan said if students and faculty parked wherever they wanted, no one would have any idea where to park.
Brennan said that parking services tries to help students and keep them safe. She also explained that they help issue new permits, and offer free jump starts to students. Brennan said that although parking is frustrating for everyone, it’s also an “element of choice.”