New Parking Spots Bring New Rules

Zoned Parking System Installed

Bridgewater, Va. – Bridgewater College facilities spent the summer renovating parking for the new school year. These renovations include extra parking spaces, a new zoned parking system and loading zones outside of each residence hall.

Bridgewater College renovated its parking to help meet the ever-changing needs of its students. The new system features different zones for each person to park in depending on whether they are a commuter, a resident, an employee or a visitor.

With the updated Residential Guest Pass Policy guests are only allowed to park in visitor spaces from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can park in any legal space on campus after hours and on the weekends.

The commuter parking zone has now been moved to the half of the Kline Campus Center that is closest to Dillon Hall. The remaining half of the Kline Campus Center lot is divided in half again, the top half used for employee parking and the bottom half for resident parking.

In an email sent out at the beginning of the year the College expressed the new parking updates will allow commuters and employees, the ones who have to move their vehicle frequently, to be able to park closer to the center of campus.

The updates have also added more than 145 new parking spaces to campus, and added loading and drop-off spaces by each residence to allow students to drop off or pick up something quickly and efficiently.

Campus Police started ticketing parking violators on Sept. 10. Unlike in past years, students are no longer be able to appeal parking tickets. Campus Police Chief Milton Franklin said this process will not change.

In the case of the “unauthorized lot” violation, where parking lots are clearly marked with sufficient signage identifying specific decals and hours, Franklin said everyone parking on campus should be able to clearly tell if they are in the correct lot or not.

To specify on the hours zoned parking is in effect, Franklin added Campus Police start ticketing from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. From 5:01 p.m. through 5:59 a.m. Monday through Friday and during the weekends, parking on campus is not zoned and people will not be ticketed unless they are in an illegal or reserved space.  Handicap spaces are always enforced.

Zoned parking rules are still in effect during class cancellations, academic breaks and holidays. Franklin also stated the initial violation for an unauthorized parking lot ticket is $45, but fines will escalate after the first violation.

Franklin stated whether or not more tickets will have to be written this year compared to last year will depend on student, faculty and staff adherence to new policies.

According to Dean of Students Leslie Frere, the major benefits to the new parking system are increased parking spaces for each constituency group–residential students, commuter students, employees and visitors, designations that better reflect the needs of each group and clear signage in each location with color coding by group.

The parking study conducted by an outside consulting firm made it clear that old allocations created a situation where students were particularly disadvantaged and all users who needed to move their vehicle between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. were likely having to check multiple lots to find a parking space.

According to Frere, this was an oft heard source of stress and frustration for everyone, but the new zoning significantly reduces these occurrences. As an example, commuter parking spaces are now all in one location on campus where every commuter can arrive and be assured of a parking space.

The only con is that it is hard to change parking habits from the old system to the new one. Frere said two new Emergency Call Centers, which are the blue lights on campus, have arrived and should be installed in the next two to three weeks as long as there are no unforeseen problems. The old ones were removed during the renovations on the Kline Campus Center parking lot.

Freshman Sarah Williams, said her experience with parking has been okay overall. Williams said she lives in Heritage and she has to park behind Geisert. Normally this is fine to her however, at night it is a really long walk alone and she doesn’t like having to cross the street in the dark.

Williams also said being a freshman has a big impact on her opinion of the new system because she does not know what the old system was like.

Sophomore Wy’niyah Tyree, said her experience with the new parking system has been negative because it is hard to find parking spaces near the building she lives in and it seems like the new parking system is more beneficial for commuters than residents.

Junior Lydia Hensley stated her experience with the new parking system has been negative because she is forced to park farther away from the building she is normally in, which is McKinney.

Originally, she could have parked right behind the building she needed, or at least would have been closer, and the new parking system puts commuters on the opposite side of campus far away from their buildings.

While parking has caused frustration for some students on campus, the administration says the purpose of new policies is to create new spaces and greater clarity.