With the busy, stressful schedule of classes and part-time jobs, the last thing students need to worry about is where they will park their car while on campus. However, this is exactly what is happening.
Finding parking on UNB and STU campuses has become exceedingly more difficult for students, faculty and staff over the years. Many students arrive an hour before class in an attempt to find parking, adding unnecessary stress, and detracting from valuable study or sleep time.
Students pay between $82 and $174 for varying passes and are still being forced to risk a ticket by parking in an illegal spot just to make it to class.
In the gravel parking lots—like Aitken Centre and the lot behind the Joy Kidd, Tibbits, and Dunn residences—cars are mashed together like an adventurous game of Tetris. In the staff and faculty lot beside the Quad, cars are some days parked blocking other cars from being able to pull out.
Some students have driven to campus only to turn around and have to go home because they couldn’t find a spot.
Students living in residence are choosing to avoid leaving campus to not risk losing their parking.
Alisha Hathi, a Joy Kidd House resident, finds it easier to find parking at her residence lot, however, in the past when she was at Bridges it was incredibly difficult to park. Noah Manuel, who currently lives at Aitken House, ends up having to park at the Joy Kidd lot, as there are no more spots in the residence parking near him.
In the past week a number of discussion posts on social media have garnered some attention as students vent their annoyance with the lack of parking availability.
A GoFundMe was even created by Brianna McQuillan, a fourth-year UNB student as a joking way to raise the money required to pay parking tickets, but also to enhance awareness about the parking issue. It has raised $160, as of Sept 27.
She has received $90 in tickets so far this year and hopes that the university sees one of these many posts students have created and decide to pursue a solution.
So what is the university planning to do?
Isabella Gallant, Vice President for Student Life for the UNB Student Union, will be working alongside the UNBSU to advocate on behalf of students on this parking issue. She is well aware of the problem, as she herself commutes to campus.
“I, as well as the rest of the student body, would like to know what efforts have been done in the past to resolve this issue,” said Gallant.
As the amount of parking passes sold and used compared to the number of spots available on campus to be used is not transparently shared with students, it makes it hard to understand the extent of the problem, says Gallant.
“On behalf of the UNB community, I will engage in active conversations about the parking situation this year to UNB Administration as well as UNB Security, to gather a more in-depth understanding of the logic behind the parking system at UNB,” she said.
There are alternatives to parking on campus. Fredericton has a transit system, where students can get a discounted bus pass for only $55 from the Welcome Centre or Town Hall.
Gallant also suggests students take more advantage of SafeRide, which runs after 5:30pm during the week to take students home.
Some students are advocating for a parking lot up at Aitken Centre and some want there to be a cap on the amount of passes sold.
Student Union is also interested in looking into what other Maritime universities have implemented to solve similar issues concerning parking on their campuses.
“It’s important to learn by example and if another institution has effective parking methods, then I will certainly investigate whether they could also thrive here at our campus,” said Gallant.
Campus saw even more car crowding with Homecoming this past weekend. To accomodate, university allowed free parking on all lots.