University alters parking restrictions

Some students are concerned about limited parking space on campus.
Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo by Ron Cabacungan)
Some students are concerned about limited parking space on campus. Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo by Ron Cabacungan)

Written by: Celeste Lee

At Southern Village orientation, students were informed that parking lot restrictions have increased this semester, and only commuting students can now park in campus buildings’ main parking lots. 

Students that live in Southern Village Proper or Upper Stateside are issued housing apartments parking passes, meaning they must walk, take Southern’s new shuttle service or, based on Campus Safety’s parking map located on the university’s website, park in lots located at WSMC, Campus Safety, the Virginia apartments, Thatcher Hall and Talge Hall to go to classes. 

Lots designated as “per area usage” on the map, which include lots by the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, Fleming Plaza and College Press, are not intended to accommodate long-term parking, Janell Hullquist, director of Marketing and University Relations said. Parking in those vicinities is tied to the function of nearby facilities, so students should not park there to attend classes or hold their cars there for extended periods of time.

Although Spalding Cove was recently incorporated into Southern Village, residents there are issued commuter parking passes.

Some students have expressed concerns about the parking situation on campus this school year. 

“I was very worried about it because I live near the back of Village Proper, and all of my classes are in Brock Hall, so that is quite literally a half an hour’s walk,” said Olivia Fisher, senior international development studies major.

To accommodate, the university added new parking spots to campus over the summer, according to Shawn Haas, associate director of Campus Safety. It expanded the WSMC parking lot by adding a new gravel section. Parking regulations also recently changed to make some parking around Talge Hall and along all of Cafeteria Drive available to Thatcher Hall and Southern Village residents.

Haas told the Accent he was concerned that Thatcher Hall parking would become overcrowded this school year based on how full the lots were last school year, as the demand for parking has grown even further with this semester’s increase in enrollment. 

However, according to Haas, parking at Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall and Cafeteria Drive has not been an issue so far this semester.

“Just because you have 1,000 students doesn’t mean 1,000 bring cars, right?” Haas said. “We [were] planning for the worst, but they really didn’t need it.”

Haas thinks the parking changes this semester have been effective, and there is not much parking pressure any more. 

According to Haas, parking pressure comes on different days and different times. 

“There’s a couple of days here or there, maybe, like, you know, from 2 to 3 [p.m.] or from 1 to 3 [p.m.]; it’s a little full, but not much,” Haas said. 

Campus Safety monitors the parking lots and will take action if the situation gets to the point where people are consistently forced to park in outer lots, according to Haas.

“Parking isn’t always necessarily the best because it’s not right next to the building where you are, but we have plenty of parking,” Haas said. “Sometimes it’s just a few minutes walk.”

For Fisher, Southern Village parking has been a problem. 

“I’m an RA, so I have to drive to meetings on Wednesday nights at Thatcher South, but then when I get back around 11 p.m., there is no parking whatsoever,” Fisher said.

Kelsie Alonso, a student on the Senate Safety Committee, expressed her fears about safety.

“It is unsafe for women to be walking that far at night,” Alonso said. “Bad situations can and do happen on campus in the dark.” 

Haas said Campus Safety escorts are available for students to call and request.

“We do have safety escorts. I mean, we preached that in orientation and everything,” Haas said. “I just don’t want people to be hesitant to do it. … Just call and we’ll assist you.”

Students can call Campus Safety and ask for a safety escort at 423-236-2100.

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