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Parking shortage fuels frustration

Tracy Clark-Flory

With tempers running fierce and students flooding into class late, parking is still a serious issue this school year.

"I never find parking on campus, ever," junior Amanda Verwey said. "I've been late [looking for parking] and parked in spots that don't even exist, but what can you do?"

While it's true that many college campuses face similar problems, it's also true that Mills is hit harder because of its large commuting population. Though the number of spaces has increased in the past 15 years, only 32 new spots have been added in the past five. In that time the number of students has seen an increase over 10 times that of the parking.

There are 1,029 spaces on campus, the same as reported by The Weekly nearly two years ago. Over the years, though, Mills has seen many changes in parking. In 1990, the school offered .65 of a parking spot for every permit issued, meaning only 65 percent of the registered cars could park on campus at once. In 2000 Mills offered a near 1:1 ratio between parking spots and students. So far this year, over 1,100 permits have been issued and HMDS expects the final total to be approximately 1,500. That equates to .68 of a parking space for every permit issued – nearing the low percentage Mills last saw in the early '90s.

"I love Mills so much but it's so hard to park! We need more spaces," said junior Kate Finneran.

"There's no parking in residential lots some nights, especially during the school week," said junior Jessica King, a dorm resident; showing that commuters are not the only affected demographic.

Graduate student Krysti Whalen said that in order to deal with on-campus parking difficulty she has to "leave half an hour earlier than [she] used to."

According to Paul Richards, director of Campus Facilities, "the campus would have to have 4,000 students before any legal requirements would require us to add any more parking."

Many students want to know what has been done to meet the added demand due to the increase in students this year. "It's totally crazy and especially hard to find parking if you're not in a compact car," said freshwoman Tina Otero. "If they could increase parking, that would be great."

Over the summer, nearly all parking spaces received a new coat of paint to lessen confusion. Other parking spaces were re-designated, such as the side of Richards Road, for commuters only on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and visitors can now only park in the Gate Lot. In general, the old layout has been preserved.

For students who don't mind a walk there are usually spots in the Gate Lot; to reach the lot students can turn right just past the guard house and make the next right into the lot.

"I usually park in the first parking lot [near the campus entrance] and it's a big trek," said Malka Goodman-Sills.

"I live on campus and I never use my car. It would be more fair for us [residents] to park further away," said senior Lorian Apostol.

Contributed to by Annie Abernethy