University eliminates sophomore parking
Sophomore resident students will no longer be able to obtain parking permits from the Department of Public Safety to park on campus starting fall 2011, according to an April 29 campuswide e-mail from Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan. Callahan announced in the e-mail that "First year and sophomore students are not allowed to have cars on campus unless they are a commuter."
The decision to eliminate sophomore parking permits will first be applied for the 2011-2012 school year and was decided "a couple of years ago," according to Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins in an interview with the Justice.
The decision to eliminate sophomore parking for 2011-2012 was first announced in April 2010, according to a Justice article published that month.
Collins said, "There was a finite number of parking spaces on the campus." He attributed the change in policy to an increased number of students on campus and the fact there is not enough space for the University to build a new parking lot without destroying green spaces.
Parking prices for 2011-2012 are expected to remain the same as 2010-2011, according to the e-mail. "The permit fees for the upcoming academic year 2011-2012 are: Charles River $60.00, Commuter $120.00 and Residence $250.00." These rates, however, increased from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011, according to the April 2010 Justice article.
Collins said that this year, there are 2,299 parking spaces on campus. Collins added that 260 sophomores currently have parking permits.
When asked if there is a problem with overcrowding parking lots, Collins replied, "Sometimes there is; we have lots that sometimes are full."
Collins believes that the only long-term solution to the parking problem on campus would be a parking garage. Sophomore parking, however, is not likely to return in the short term because although it is a goal of the University, it must be assessed relative to other University goals, said Collins.
When asked about plans to increase University transportation to compensate for the elimination of parking spaces, Collins said, "We are looking at options to see what we can do. ... We're flexible in terms of looking at [transportation] options, but we need to assess what its gonna cost to do, what's the wish list. I can't make a lot of commitments on that end until I get a sense of the need."He added,"I understand why everyone would want a car here, [and] I'm stuck with the reality of the number of spots to be able to provide juniors and seniors with parking."
Senator for the Class of 2014 Mitchell Schwartz said in an interview with the Justice that, although he was not planning to bring a car to campus next semester, he knows that "a lot of sophomores will be upset about this."
He noted that this might cause "a huge issue next year with sophomore parking" because sophomores "are still going to find a way to bring a car up to campus because it was something they were expecting to have."
This will cause traditional off-campus parking spots such as Old South Street and Nipper Maher Park to fill up, said Schwartz. These spaces are unaffiliated with the University.
Collins noted that students parking on the streets of Waltham "could turn into a very ugly and very expensive proposition."
"I am personally worried to see what will happen in terms of sophomores who are going to bring their cars regardless of the fact that they cannot have a permit to keep it on campus," he said. Schwartz added, however, that he understands the reasoning behind the decision.
"The issue is that when I am going to be a junior and senior, I would like to know that there will be a parking spot on campus that I wouldn't be competing with sophomores [for] as well. I feel like it is just a fairness of seniority."
--Robyn Spector contributed