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Saint Mary’s students react to spring 2022 parking guidelines

| Monday, February 7, 2022

At the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, Saint Mary’s students could be seen parking on large patches of grass because the College was running out of space for their vehicles. 

Over the summer of 2021, the College decided to reevaluate their parking policies as a result of limited space, adjustments to how academic buildings were being used, a high number of students with a tight schedule of both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s classes, to create more accessible parking for special guests and to protect the safety of students with late night jobs or early morning field work, according to Phil Bambenek, director of campus safety. 

However, the College faced issues after making these changes. 

We quickly realized that there were some unanticipated factors, mostly revolving around people’s behavior in the time of COVID.  People weren’t coming to campus as often or for as long as they had previously, so we had some surplus that may or may not be there once all of that is over with,” Bambenek said.

Due to limited parking space, students were allowed to park on a large grass area adjacent to parking lots if they were unable to find a spot. After one semester using this protocol, the College updated their parking policies. 

“With the experience of the fall semester in place, we re-evaluated and made some additional parking available to resident students, while still meeting the needs of all of our other community members in a way that I think will carry us through the rest of the semester and hopefully through the end of the pandemic as well,” Bambenek said.

Courtesy of Saint Mary’s Campus Safety
Saint Mary’s updated their parking lot assignments after many students had to park on the grass during the fall 2021 semester.

The updated policy moved commuter students closer to central buildings on campus and also provided more parking for visitors, while maintaining enough space for resident students to park in lots. Resident students, who take up most of the parking spaces on campus, have also noticed changes. 

“I haven’t noticed any significant changes, but I would definitely say it’s better,” senior Eliana Sanchez said. “Last semester people were parking on the grass so it was complicated, the first couple of weeks, but this semester there hasn’t been crazy parking like that.” 

While no students have needed to park on the grass, some students are still displeased with parking. 

“It’s so much better than it was last semester but it still feels like there’s not enough spots. As someone who’s lived in Holy Cross Hall for the last two years, it’s a pain to consistently have to park in the Angela Lot when there’s nothing left in the Regina [Hall] lot,” senior Abigail Pinnow said. 

Students have also recently noticed issues with the snow in the parking lots. 

“There hasn’t been parking on the grass, but there also hasn’t been much of the parking plowed as there should be,” junior Alexia Ceja said. 

Both Pinnow and Sanchez noted how the recent snowfall has impacted their parking as well. 

“I’ve been pretty frustrated with how the lots have been cleared after this past snowfall. It took me two hours to dig out my car in part because there was still a solid two feet high wall of snow behind my car that I had to shovel in order to be able to leave the still pretty icy parking lot,” Pinnow said. 

“It’s been hard to park because of the snow, since the plow trucks make the show build up on the back of vehicles,” Sanchez echoed. 

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About Veronica Navarro

Veronica Navarro is a junior at Notre Dame from South Bend, IN. Navarro is also a member of the Notre Dame Mock Trial team and a resident of Flaherty Hall.

Contact Veronica