Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Students clog Draper Ave. for parking

The parking lot at Au Sable, Hawkins and Ward halls gets so much traffic that students resort to other parking options.


By Aleksandra Sidorova

Students have resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to secure a parking spot close to class.

“I feel like there’s not much parking, especially once you get here later on in the day,” said Olivia Montello, a first-year who arrives to class early, in part due to the state of campus parking.

When the off-campus student parking lot next to Au Sable, Hawkins and Ward halls filled up, students started parking on both sides of Draper Avenue. Cars on both sides reduced the normally two-way traffic on the street along Ward and Au Sable to one lane. Sometimes, students block driveways. 

Plattsburgh City Police received three complaints about parking on Draper Avenue since Jan. 29 and issued 31 parking tickets on the street since Jan. 22.

“It happens every semester,” City Police Lt. Joshua Pond said. “People are new to the campus or they forget where they can park appropriately.”

Some students don’t understand how parking on campus works. Montello, majoring in early childhood and special education, said parking on campus was “complicated.” 

“It’s not really clear where students can park,” Montello said.

First-year biomedical sciences major Alexandra Webb described parking as “difficult, depending on the day.” Montello and Webb both live off-campus.

Webb prefers the lot next to Au Sable and Hawkins because it is close to her classes.

If it’s full, she has to park farther away at Feinberg Library’s lot and walk, which is harder in cold weather.

Georgia Belrose, a first-year adolescence history education major who lives off-campus, said parking is “confusing,” particularly the parking lot between Feinberg and Champlain Valley Hall. Technically, that space is two parking lots — one for faculty and staff and one for off-campus students. 

The closest parking lot for on-campus students is beside Moffitt and Sibley halls, which Belrose thinks is unfair.

“I feel like (the space near CVH) should be more accessible to on-campus students,” Belrose said. “I feel like some of the aspects of balancing the off-campus parking and the on-campus parking are kind of wishy-washy.”

Belrose also said the parking lot at Au Sable, Hawkins and Ward is “terrible” because it isn’t large enough to accommodate all the traffic three classroom buildings attract. Belrose and Montello suggested making more parking spaces as a solution, whether that’s building new ones or allowing students to use part of the staff and faculty parking lots.

“I feel like a lot of faculty and staff parking lots should be open to students more,” Montello said. “Not all of them, but I feel like they’re never actually full, where the students’ parking lots are normally always full.”

Some of New York parking violations include parking in a traffic lane, angled parking and parking a vehicle facing the wrong way, which may apply to parking on Draper Avenue.

“(Draper Avenue) is one of the problematic areas in the city for parking complaints,” Pond said.

Whenever City Police receives complaints about parking in front of driveways, it tries to reach the car or registration owner, but may tow the car in the case of no response, Pond said. However, that’s the most City Police can do.

University Police has no jurisdiction over Draper Avenue and parking on it.

“I did notice that folks have figured out that it’s not prohibited to park where they are on Draper,” UP Chief Patrick Rascoe wrote in an email. “It’s not ideal because it reduced the travel to one lane. It’s an easy fix with signage and, unfortunately, that will likely be what happens. More sign pollution.”

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