KSC faculty deal with congested parking

Justin Yamet

Equniox Staff


As prices at the pump continue to soar, many teachers and faculty at Keene State College are taking it upon themselves to use alternative transportation methods to get to campus.  Whether you park your car at the Winchester Lot, Red Fern Art Center, or by the Science Center, parking is hard to come by.

Debra Williams, administrative assistant in the parking office at Campus Safety, said much of the lack of space is due to differing schedules over the course of the day.  “It’s what I like to call the commuter mindset,” she said.

Williams said currently 1.5 spots are given for every two people using the parking spaces in the faculty lots. A 1 to 1 ratio is given to cars using residential lots.  With only 555 spots available on campus, (excluding the Winchester Lot) many drivers are inevitably forced to park off campus.

With deep budget cuts expected to affect the University of New Hampshire System, the construction of a new parking lot to alleviate congestion on campus seems all but unlikely.

According to Mary Jensen, coordinator of sustainability programs at KSC, a new ride share program sponsored by the Contocook, NH Valley Transportation Company is being utilized campus-wide.  Trying to recruit members to its team, the C.V.C.T. held an event March 31 that informed faculty and staff about the benefits of carpooling.

Working closely with the Presidents Council and other sustainable energy projects on campus, Jensen noted there was no quick solution to the parking problem on campus.  “If we could have 10 free parking spaces available per day as a result of carpooling, it would be great,” she said.

Speaking about the current situation, adjunct faculty member Nancy Ritchie said, “The only times I’ve been successful finding a parking spot is if I’m on campus prior to 8 a.m.  While it’s frustrating to have to walk to campus on a rainy day, it’s a price I pay for not being here for the entire day.”

Undoubtedly, the chaotic parking frenzy at KSC has been the subject of great strife amongst  students and faculty alike.  Trying to find a spot to park their vehicles in the morning before class, many drivers have been left to park their cars on Main Street, leaving them with little choice but to pay for metered parking.

Even more problematic in the winter, many lots around campus become noticeably smaller as a result of the massive amount of snow and ice.   Bud Winsor, head of Sanitation and Maintenance, said this past winter was especially bad due to the heavy amount of snow that Keene received.

“As much as we would like to get at every lot, you can’t do them all at once, but you can prioritize the more important ones,” he said.  “We try and get every spot clear in the main lots.”  Despite the controversies surrounding parking at KSC, Winsor made clear that no matter what college campus you travel to, parking would still be an issue.

Unlike most college campuses, however, Keene’s lack of land puts it at a severe disadvantage when it comes to creating new black top for cars to pull into.  With limited  land to utilize, Keene has little choice but to bite the bullet when it comes to parking.

With much uncertainty in regards to the parking scenario here at KSC, one thing remains certain:  it can only get better.

As Administrative Assistant and faculty member Emma Wilson put it, “There just are not enough parking spaces.”


Justin Yamet can be contacted @ jyamet@keeneequinox.com


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