Amplified Parking

Megan D’Souza
FOR THE QC

Over winter break, the Whittier College Parking Committee revisited the parking plan established in 2017. The new parking plan opens the Amphitheater (AMP) parking lot to all students, both residents and commuters, with the exception of first-year commuters. This decision was made “based on student feedback” according to the Student-L sent out by Dean of Students and member of the Parking Committee Joel Pérez.

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Drastic changes were made to the school’s parking policy at the beginning of the school year, restricting access to lots based on whether someone is a residential student, a commuter, or a faculty member. “One of the biggest concerns was that sometimes people had to travel to four or five lots before finding a spot,” said Pérez earlier in the year. Assigned lots are supposed to reduce time spent looking for parking, since there are only so many places available. 

One of the flaws with this system is that after 5 p.m., anyone can park in any unmarked spot. The Athletic Center (AC) lot is marked as a residential lot, primarily used by students living in Wanberg, Harris, and Turner Halls. However, sporting events often take up parking in the AC lot in the evening, leaving residential students parking in the AMP lot as overflow. Leaving cars in the commuter lot overnight on such occasions was a source of confusion and stress.      

With the updated parking rules, commuter students may still park in the AMP lot. Additional lots for commuters include Canyon Drive (CND), Campus Inn (CI), Music North and Music South lots. Residential students may continue to park in the Wanberg, GAC, Founders Hill, Turner/Harris, and Haverhill lots. However, first-year commuters are limited to Stadium and Canyon (CYN) lots. Additionally, students must remove their vehicles by 5 p.m. so the lots can be locked up. 

Fourth-year commuter Sarah Lavelle’s main concern is the lack of parking available to students to begin with. Lavelle says, “Sometimes students have to leave campus for doctor’s appointments, interviews, or various other reasons. My concern is that upon return they won’t find any appropriately marked spots, which forces them to park in an undesignated area and possibly get ticketed or fined.” 

The 2017-18 first-year class is the largest in the College’s history, with 542 first years and 77 transfers. This growth in population has prompted conversations about how to adapt. “A lot of schools have a policy where first-years aren’t allowed to bring cars their first year. This might be inconvenient for incoming students, but since we don’t have enough parking to begin with, it might be a good solution,” second-year resident Cali Cubel says. Second-year Erin Dougherty agrees, “There should be more parking available for the upper campus dorms.” There have been talks about building more parking on campus, potentially even a parking structure in the AMP lot. However, Board of Trustee member Alan Lund said in a meeting earlier this year, “The parking situation is complicated because, to open up more spots, we have to close a lot down. So we have to consider, is it something we can finish during the summer? If not, it creates even more problems.”

There will be no changes to special marked spots, such as Disabled (must have a state issued placard visible at all times), Reserved, Service, and Visitor spots. 

The Quaker Campus has collected some feedback from both returning commuters and residential students. “I don’t mind walking further from where my first class is, and, though that is inconvenient, I mainly mind how long it takes to find parking,” said commuter and second-year Tris Macklin. “I have to allow myself a lot of time to look so I’m not late for class, which means I have to get here a significant amount of time earlier than usual.” 

The Parking Committee would like to remind you that you may park in any unmarked spot on campus after business hours (7:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.) and on weekends.