As a Mount Allison student, I am extremely fortunate to live close enough to campus to be able to walk to classes if I so choose. However, if you don’t live close to campus, or if you’re going to get a coffee before class, finding a place to park is like trying to find a table on the main floor of the library during exam season – nearly impossible. Although I’m not certain of the exact date that the parking lots were built, I am sure cars are more popular now than they used to be.
There are seven parking lots on campus that are designated for student drivers. These lots range in size and accessibility. The largest of these lots are Campbell and Thornton & Edwards, which are used both by students who live on campus and commuters. Since moving off campus, parking has climbed to the top of my frustration list.
I don’t know how many times I have been driving back from Tim Hortons’, with only 10 minutes until class starts, and I end up being late because of the lack of available parking, passing through Dunn, Hillcrest, Thornton & Edwards and more with no luck. The next logical option is street parking, right? Wrong.
Parking on the streets of Sackville for more than two hours during the school day can earn you a ticket from a bylaw officer. So, often, students turn to testing their luck by parking in spots not marked out on the pavement lines. Although most of the time, illegally parking this way still allows cars to pass freely through, the school reacts to this by towing said vehicles, sometimes without warning.
Technically, the school has no obligation to give notice before towing an illegally parked vehicle, as it is outlined in Policy 7605: Parking and Vehicle Access Policy. However, if they are continuously having to tow multiple vehicles at a time, isn’t there a larger issue at hand? Does Facilities Management believe that students are willingly parking what is often their sole method of transportation in an at-risk space because they have the extra money kicking around for the tow?
In the grand scheme of university life, parking should not be a source of stress for students, yet it is. Despite all the staggeringly apparent signs that the parking situation is bleak, there has been no response from the school. There are no plans to improve this situation, or at least none that have been made public.
Although I am not certain of the perfect solution to this problem, something has to be done. The parking lots are not going to become emptier, and more students will likely be bringing cars in years to come. Students don’t have the time or money to handle the reality of campus parking much longer, so I urge the Facilities Management at Mt. A to enact change on this front.