Parking Blues

The problems (and solutions) of the tarmac
Katie Hunckler
Staff Writer

parking article 2Whoever said finding a needle in a haystack was difficult obviously had never tried finding a parking space on a community college campus.
Parking can be a challenge to begin with, but add in the fact that many students have only a narrow window separating the end of a work shift from the beginning of a class, and the experience of searching for a parking space can become an all-out frazzling experience, especially if there are surprises involved.
“On Monday, I got here about 15 minutes before class. I got to McMorran and saw the long line of cars to get in,” said Capac commuter Jacquelyn DeMink.
DeMink, unaware of the event taking place at McMorran that morning, arrived surprised that they were charging a fee to enter the north McMorran lot, which is usually free student parking. She traveled around town, significantly out of her way, and ended up parking in the “boonies” near the M-TEC Building. Zipping to her class on the opposite side of campus, DeMink arrived minutes later obviously flustered and completely out of breath.
Although parking is not as bad when the north McMorran lot is functional, there seems to be a consensus that something is lacking.
“I think we need more parking!” Declared Jen Brock without hesitation. Brock, who commutes to campus every day, finds parking especially challenging in the mornings when the majority of students have classes. Additionally, with the south McMorran lot under construction and out of the picture at the moment, she has no decent backup plan.
However, there is no doubt that parking has improved immensely over the course of the past several years. “I could expect students to be 10 to 15 minutes late because they couldn’t find a parking spot,” said Janice Fritz, SC4 Biology professor, referring to the time periods immediately preceding the 2010 parking lot remodel. Enrollment was through the roof at that time. “Now, I almost think we could not rent McMorran and not have a problem,” she concluded.
The best way to beat the parking lot blues? Avoid driving altogether! Fritz has been an active advocate for alternative forms of transportation, specifically bus and bicycle. As part of the transportation subcommittee, she attempted to land a student deal on bus passes, but Blue Water Area Transit wanted the college to subsidize the deal. Unsure the number of interested students, SC4 declined.
Fritz’s next goal was to get the campus bike racks covered so inclement weather would not be as high a concern, but as the racks see little use, it did not seem a worthy cause. Lastly, Fritz advocated for lockers on campus. Many people keep their belongings in their cars during the day, so lockers would meet that storage need for those electing to use alternative methods of transportation. However, we “didn’t get very far with that,” said Fritz.
Although parking at SC4 is often perceived as challenging, many options are available to ease the burden of finding that needle in the haystack. There is the parking lot on the SC4 campus, the north McMorran lot (which is free to students entering the lot before 2 p.m.), and a mass of parking spaces on downtown streets. Alternative transportation is also a guaranteed means of avoiding the rush of traffic!
For a complete map of parking options in the vicinity of the SC4 campus, visit www.sc4.edu/maps-and-directions.

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