By Haley Hersey, News Editor
Dean of Students Rodney Mondor said during the first week of classes, the parking garage never exceeded 80% capacity, yet with the closing of the parking lot in front of Masterton Hall for the construction of the new one-acre campus green, parking spots have become harder to find.
USM Director of Sustainability, Aaron Witham, said “subject to Board of Trustee approval, and subject to City of Portland approval, we plan to build a second parking garage. We have been hard at work designing the garage, and the plans are currently before the City for review. It would go beside the existing Abromson garage, and would provide over 600 spaces. It would make up for all of the parking lost from the former Woodbury/Bedford Street parking lot that is now under construction, being transformed to a new campus green.”
Witham also said the new parking garage would be sustainable for the future residents of the new Portland residence hall, Portland Commons. The proposed opening of the new parking garage is in 2023.
Dewey Ferguson, Parking Services Supervisor, said in response to all questions, “All of the answers are on the Website.”
Senior Cyber Security major, Carter Haid, said his experience with parking this year has seemed to improve in comparison to last year.
“The lines aren’t as long as prior to COVID and you’re always able to find a spot somewhere. However, it is difficult to get your parking pass to be allowed to park there.”
According to the Parking Services website, as of September 17, “you will not get a citation for not displaying your permit if you do not have one until Monday, October 4, 2021.”
The three person staff is working quickly to process all the requests for permits.
Additionally, until further notice, the exit gates will open to leave for free. All other citations will be issued.
On September 22, Parking Services announced “A decision has been made by the USM Administration to close the grass lawn, located on the Portland Campus by Wishcamper and the Glickman Library, effective immediately.”
Those who continue to park on the lawn will receive citations or will be towed.
In the Dean of Students Email (DoSE), Dean Mondor wrote, “Today on the Portland Campus, I had a student share that there was no parking on campus. When I looked at the parking garage, the entire first floor was empty.”
He continued to write, “Wednesday is our busiest day on campus, and there are plenty of spaces in the garage. It might be a good habit to just go up to level three or higher to find spaces. Check out the Parking website for Parking Updates.”
USM encourages students to ride the METRO, instead of driving, to meet their sustainable transportation goals, which is published in the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan.
“The Office of Sustainability and other departments on campus advocated for the creation of a TDM plan to help increase the multi-modal opportunities on campus, so that our campus transportation system could be more equitable and serve everyone in our community, not just those that have the power and privilege of owning a personal vehicle,” said Witham. “The City review process for the new residence hall and career and student success center provided a perfect opportunity to hire an outside consultant named VHB to help us develop a TDM plan, establish a set of goals, and make it official.”
Witham, Dean Mondor, and others helped direct traffic during the bustle of the first week of classes. They instructed students on how the ticket system works along with how to navigate the parking garage.
“Our experience helping students figure out how to enter the garage and how to find parking was rewarding. Students seemed appreciative of the help, and it was so exciting to see everyone back on campus!” said Witham. “We love working for students because they are our future, and it is deeply meaningful to help them along their journey.”