On Monday night at 5:00 p.m., I was heading to The Equinox office from my apartment with my car keys in one hand and the thought of whether or not to risk the fine of parking without a parking pass on campus on my mind. I live in downtown Keene, which is about a mile away from campus, and many times I stay on campus later than 10:00 p.m.. In past years, staying on campus late has never been a problem because I was always in close walking distance while walking home. However, this year, I live almost a mile away from campus and now that the parking lot policies have changed, I feel as though my safety is at risk.
To my dismay on Monday night, I came out to find a ticket on my windshield. I picked up the ticket, annoyed, but knew deep down that I played the cards and had lost. However, when I opened my ticket and looked at the cost, I was livid. I got a $50.00 ticket for parking on campus because I don’t feel safe walking a mile back to my apartment at 11:30 at night. Now, one might wonder after reading this, ‘Why don’t you buy a commuter lot pass?’ My reasoning behind this is because commuter lot passes are $150.00 this year. Yes, they are still on sale and I could easily buy one. However, every day when I head to class, anywhere between 9:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m., I constantly see students driving around the parking lot until a spot becomes available, and my conclusion is, there simply aren’t enough spots in the commuter lots behind the L.P. Young Student Center for students to park in.
The overflow of the commuter lots ends up in the Winchester Lot. So if I did end up buying a parking pass, there would be days where I would be driving around the lots looking for a spot and if there were no spots available, I would need to park in the Winchester Lot. By then, with the time it takes to walk from that lot to my class, I might as well have walked from my apartment in the first place. Therefore, buying an expensive pass really isn’t worth it.
I personally don’t understand why Campus Safety felt the need to change the hours that students are allowed to park on campus. In a previous article from The Equinox, KSC Assistant Director of Campus Safety Leonard Crossman explained that the parking on campus is starting to become too relaxed and that they would like to know exactly who is parking on campus at all times. While I completely commend Campus Safety in its efforts to check in with everyone who is parking on campus, I still feel this parking ban affects students’ safety when it comes to parking at night.
As a young female, I don’t feel safe walking down dimly lit streets such as Blake Street and Wilson Street to get back to my apartment late at night. After 5:00 p.m., the competition for parking on campus isn’t even close to high. With this new parking ban in effect, there are going to be a lot of empty spots on campus that are simply just taking up space, while students such as myself risk either walking alone late at night or getting a $50.00 ticket.
I am not one of those students who tries to park on campus all day long without a pass. I used to only park at night for a few hours while I was on campus, simply because I do not want to walk back to my apartment at night. Even when I was still living on campus sophomore year, I distinctly remember being able to park my car in the parking lot by the Redfern Arts Center on the weekends. This especially came in handy when I would go to work because it meant that I wouldn’t have to walk from the Winchester Lot down the dark pathway by the fields back to Pondside I. So this parking ban isn’t just affecting students such as myself who live off campus and don’t have a pass. It’s affecting all the students who live on campus as well.
I understand the desire to know who is parking on campus at all times, but my main concern is my safety and the safety of my peers here at Keene State College.
Grace Pecci can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org