Student Union senators have been working since the beginning of the semester to find solutions to improve the current parking system. On Tuesday, Nov. 10, four bills were passed dealing with parking matters.
The first bill was a recommendation that the John Carroll Police Department and John Carroll Administration collect data about traffic flows and parking congestion throughout campus. Student Union President, Cole Hassay, explained the recommendation as administrators “keep[ing] accurate data records of traffic flows and parking problems so they can assess issues and have empirical evidence behind the decisions they make.”
The second bill suggested the University display clear signage to better communicate parking policies.
Student Union believes the Belvoir Lot is underutilized during school hours. They passed a bill recommending that students who own commuter parking passes should park in the Belvoir Lot during school hours and the administration relocate University-owned vans in order to allow room for these students.
The last bill is a long-term project that recommends that the University Strategic Planning Group create a capital expansion project, to increase on-campus parking. The main problem with expansion is that John Carroll is land-locked. Parking Coordinator, Patti Taylor said, “Looking at the parking map, there is no lot to go to.”
Hassay said, “In order for the university to grow and if [they] were to increase in class size, we need more parking,” Hassay continued, “If opportunities were to arise and [the University] could reach an agreement with the city to buy land, we could potentially have a solution.”
As the expansion project is a University-wide issue, Student Union left the language of the bill vague to allow flexibility for administrators and the strategic planning group to have control. “If people visit campus and see non-friendly parking, it may affect [their] decision to come here,” said Student Union member Daniel Mascio.
The bills came as a result of a culmination of Student Union’s solutions and meetings with members of JCUPD and the facilities department. A committee of Student Union members met to decide on solutions to the parking issue. The committee consisted of Daniel Mascio, Chris Barthen, Katie Cavasinni and Ben Goodman. Mascio said, “We came up with short-term ideas to alleviate student’s stress and as we went on, we decided to compartmentalize the short and long term solutions.”
The committee analyzed how realistic the solutions were before bringing them to the meeting with administrators. Three meetings took place since September and included assistant director for JCUPD Brian Hurd, parking coordinator Patti Taylor and Facilities associate vice president Carol Dietz as well as Student Union members from the committee.
In response to the meeting, Taylor said, “It was informative for both sides. It was good for students to realize why we can’t expand and good for employees to see where the students are coming from.”
Hurd explained that the hope is to add more resident spaces for overnight parking in the Belvoir Lot. “It’s an incremental step,” he said.
The police department plans to look into feedback regarding parking over the summer and look at parking trends over the school year. They currently have an ongoing evaluation of patterns and have been keeping lot counts to see where and when open spaces are. “Capacity will be a challenge” said Hurd. Once JCUPD looks over the legislation, they will discuss options with the facilities department and the office of student affairs. Hurd said the department “has to be thoughtful” when deciding on short-term legislation as it can have effects elsewhere.