By Jessica Pike, Staff Writer
A well known problem on the Gorham campus of USM is the limited student parking. It might not seem like an important problem, but a student being late for class due to being unable to find parking would disagree. I personally have been late to class because I was busy driving around and trying to find somewhere closer to park. Usually the only free spots are by Hannaford Field on the far side of the campus. It is especially difficult at night, when parking lots close to the dorms are completely full, and students have to walk back, in the dark and possibly alone. It’s definitely not safe or practical, due to the fact that a lot of students are carry around large bags full of books and laptops, groceries, sports equipment and more. This leads students to instead park in restricted parking areas that are closer to their dorms and having to pay tickets that can range from $25-$200.
College students already pay for classes, food, housing, travel and other such expenses; having to pay additional parking tickets on top of that can be tough. It also doesn’t help that the parking for each dorm is unevenly distributed throughout the campus, meaning students from one dorm might have to park in another dorm’s lot or in visitors metered parking.
Some students, especially freshman, have trouble with the parking regulations as it is. For example, beside Russell Hall, there is a row of parking that is unlabeled and many first year college students mistake it for a place for them to park. However, it is actually part of the employee parking further behind it, even if the sign doesn’t show it as so. As a result, the students receive parking tickets for parking where they didn’t know they could not park there.
Parking is not as much of a problem on the Portland campus because of the parking garage, which is directly connected the Abromson Center. The four story parking garage makes arriving to class on time easier, even if it means parking on the top floor. In addition, there is also parking located in front of Woodbury Campus Center which makes it easier to get to the Portland class buildings. Adding a parking garage to the Gorham campus would cost a lot of money, but it would help solve a lot of both the students and employees parking problems.
I realize that building a parking garage would be difficult to complete because space for it to go would have to be found, funding would be needed and it could take a while to complete, but the rewards would be worth it. It would solve the need for more parking spaces, make it easier for snow removal in the winter and eliminate the parking bans that are put into effect for plowing. It would also keep the cars safer, and they would not get covered in snow or have snow piled up behind them by the plows. Fewer parking tickets would be given which would also take a little of the responsibility off of the Campus Police shoulders.
The idea of building an on-campus parking garage should be discussed, at the very least, not only for the students, but for anyone who parks on USM property.