Mercer's parking problems

As the 650 freshmen and 125 transfer students flood the Mercer University campus, issues concerning convenient parking continue among students.

As posted on the Mercer website by the Mercer campus police force, “Possession of a decal does not guarantee a parking space. The responsibility of locating a proper space rests with the driver. The lack of a parking space, being late for class or work, parking illegally for only a short time, leaving your flashers on, etc. are not valid excuses for parking illegally.”

With this said, convenient parking spaces have become rare. Freshman Nate Flowers, a resident of Roberts Hall, said, “Most of the time I end up parking behind MEP or Plunkett Hall. The parking lot beside Roberts is really small, so there are never any spaces, and the lot behind Roberts is only for upperclassmen. With starting a job off campus, it’s really difficult to walk across to Roberts.”

Additionally, Molly Wilkins, a Mercer graduate student and Local Editor for The Cluster, said, “Parking was an issue when I was a freshman in 2001 living in Dowell Hall. It’s interesting to me that it continues to be an issue. Even now I am taking evening classes—they are held in Stetson—and good luck finding a parking space when everyone arrives at 5:30 (p.m.).”

Jonathan Beale, a sophomore, said, “I live in Mercer Hall and with three dorms and [Greek row], it’s difficult to find parking in the lot.” Beale continued by saying that parking in other lots make for “a longer walk that’s inconvenient.”

Kate Thomas, a sophomore, said, “If you live in one of the halls of Mercer, Sherwood or Roberts, you take your chances on getting a spot. If you don’t get a spot behind those dorms, parking gets desperate.”

Addressing the inconvenience issue, Chief Gary Collins, chief of Mercer University Police, said, “We have plenty of parking right now. Overall, Mercer students are very fortunate with the parking; it’s unfortunate that people can’t park right outside of where they want to go. During class days, it’s supposedly more of a pedestrian campus.”

Chief Collins continued, stating that the lack of an annual fee for parking marks Mercer University as a rare exception among other colleges and universities. This proves true compared to the Georgia Institute of Technology Annual Permit price (2013-2014) at $704; and The University of Georgia parking permit pass—after granted the opportunity through a priority system—ranging from $180-$360 with a campus size of 759 acres.

The limited favorable parking not only poses inconveniences for Mercer students, but also to staff. Dr. Curtis Herink, a Mercer professor since 1983, said, “Most every day I’m here between 8 and 8:30, and by 8:00 most of the in-campus spots have already been filled up. I park on the peripheral campus, next to Tatnall Square Park so I get within 2 or 3 blocks which is closer than if I would have parked on the in-campus lots.”

However, Dr. Herink also said, “When I first moved to Macon, I lived about 1.3 miles from campus and I walked to school every day.” He continued saying, “Students have to pay (their) dues. My advice would be to find a parking spot that is more or less permanent and then walk because (Mercer) is a small campus.”

Additionally addressing the potential inconveniences of Mercer parking, Chief Collins, said, “Don’t always think you can park close to where you are going; however, if you see a legal, available space, then I think you should take it. There are more parking lots that are open to all decals; there’s available parking, unfortunately we have to walk a little.”