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New parking lot, rules appear at College

Katie Kohler | Thursday, September 7, 2006

In addition to planned scenery changes like a new academic building and a hotel next to Saint Mary’s, a new parking lot has popped up this year – and with it, some new parking rules.

The new lot, designed exclusively for off-campus students, has been constructed near Opus Hall and is a close walk to Madeleva and the Science Hall.

Saint Mary’s security has also placed restrictions on faculty and commuting students’ parking as well as dorm-front parking. This year, students will not be permitted to park in front of residence halls for an extended period of time. Yellow restriction lines have been added in front of Le Mans and Holy Cross Hall to prevent vacant vehicles and excess traffic.

Dan Woods, director of Security at Saint Mary’s, said the most dramatic changes to parking pertain to preparing for the upcoming construction.

Minor changes in where faculty and commuting students can park are being dealt with in an incremental manner. Security is using warnings and temporary signs to acclimate students and faculty to the changes.

“Parking enforcement began right after school started. There has been some small confusion with the lots, but we have been giving the commuters extra chances,” Woods said – meaning most of the “tickets” have been warnings.

“We will soon be in full swing with enforcement,” he said.

However, students seem to be adapting to the parking changes, Woods said, since citations and towing are not exceeding last year’s numbers. Woods said he does not expect parking violations to increase from last year.

“The amount of tickets so far appears to be about the same,” he said.

Junior Becca Rosswurm, who moved off campus this year, said she is pleased with the parking accommodations for commuting students.

“While it may be closer for off-campus students to park in the last three rows of the Science Hall lot, I find it just as easy to use the new lot,” she said. “And who can’t use a little exercise?”

As for towing, only one incident has been reported this year.

Junior Carly Rundborg’s vehicle was towed while she was attending daily Mass at the Church of Loretto Aug. 31.

She attended daily Mass about three times a week for years and said this is the first time she experienced problems with parking.

“I am an off-campus student and I just want to go to daily Mass without getting my car taken away and charged,” Rundborg said.

Woods said Rundborg should have known better.

“Most returning students with vehicles know the policy and abide by the parking regulations,” he said.

Woods anticipates small problems in the near future with parking and traffic flow. The new academic building and hotel, set to break ground in the southwest and northeast corners of campus, respectively, may cause minor changes.

“Things may change a bit at the Douglas Road intersection with Madeleva Drive, but we are not expecting normal day-to-day traffic on campus to be impacted that much,” he said.

Although parking on campus only causes minor confusion and violations, the Irish home opener against Penn State brings an influx of would-be parkers. Director of Athletics Lynn Kachmarik is involved with football parking at Saint Mary’s for home games. She said that each varsity athletic team is responsible for organizing parking for a home game this season.

“I think it will be very organized this weekend and well-run,” Kachmarik said.