Image: Peter Garcia
Growing pains: Mercer students share their opinions about parking on campus
The ability to find parking spaces on campus has been an issue for both commuters and on-campus residents at Mercer for many years, and these complaints have grown since the increase in the student population in the past five years.
Many students have stated their frustration in finding a parking space near their residence halls, especially on the side of campus with the apartments and Mercer, Sherwood and Shorter Halls.
“I think there aren’t enough parking spots, which is really unfortunate for students like me who have to work off campus. It’s sort of not fair,” said Mark Boland, a junior Mercer Hall resident.
Boland said that he’s had occasions where he would check the Sherwood, Mercer Police and Garden Apartment lots and find nothing.
“I get off work at 6 p.m. usually, and I have to come back here and find a parking place, and the thing about coming back at 6 p.m. is that some lots just aren’t open whatsoever,” he said.
He said he sometimes ends up going to Tattnall and finding almost all of the parking spots taken there, “even though they’re not even part of the university parking.”
Junior residents are not the only students complaining about the lack of parking. Although parking spots were added with the creation of the new Legacy Hall, freshman have said there are still times where it is hard to find a spot.
“In the beginning of the year, it was pretty good. I found a parking spot pretty easily,” said Cindey Perez, a freshman living in Legacy Hall. “But now it’s like super hard to find a parking spot. This morning it took me—like actually I was driving in circles trying to find a spot. It took like 15 to 20 minutes. Almost was late to class.”
Students who commute also expressed complaints about the availability of parking similar to those of on-campus residents. One student who commutes to Mercer every day, a graduate student named Tyler Hiislip, said that some hours are better for finding parking than others.
“If I go early enough, it’s pretty good, and around 5 p.m., when I have my other classes, it’s fine. If I go in the middle of the day, though, it’s kind of crowded,” Hiislip said.
Mackenzie Pfaff, a sophomore resident of the Lofts at Mercer Landing, also expressed concerns with parking for those loft residents on game days and other large events. She said that Mercer turns the parking at Mercer Landing into paid parking for event-goers and that this has caused issues for her and her fellow Loft residents.
“So on game days, they let people pay to park at Mercer Landing [and] I have a job and work Saturday mornings most of the time. So I will leave and go to work and come back and have no where to park,” Pfaff said. “I live there, so I have nowhere to park because Mercer lets people pay to park where I pay $800 a month to live.”
Pfaff also said that when she returned to her loft to change clothes on a game day, she was asked to pay for parking before explaining she was a resident of the Lofts, as her parking decal showed.
There were also students who said they were unhappy to read in an article in the previous issue of The Cluster that Mercer Police issued out almost 800 more parking decals to students and faculty than there are total parking spaces on campus.
Another concern was also expressed for the spots used by students and faculty at Tattnall Square Park when they cannot find spots on campus.
“I think it’s also unfortunate for the community because we have so many people from Mercer parking on Tattnall,” Boland said. “So it takes away spaces from the type of people that just want to go to the park just because there aren’t enough on Mercer for their own students.”
Not all students have had mostly bad experiences with parking. A few students living on the side of campus with Legacy, Plunkett and Mary Erin Porter residence halls have said that their experiences with parking has been positive.
“It’s been pretty good actually. Except like, some days it’s bad,” said Jesse Standard, a freshman living in Dowell. “Like in the morning when all the commuters come. But mostly, most of the time, at least somewhere, there’s something.”
Andrew Pryer, a freshman living in Plunkett, said, “Overall, my experience has been not too terrible. I haven’t really left campus that much. I do know I was able to get a fairly decent spot. Although on occasion, if I leave during the day of course, you know all the spots are going to be taken, and I generally have to park more towards the faculty parking lot in that case.”