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Students Still Unsatisfied With Parking Situation

By Alison Tobin ’18

Staff Writer


The shuttle times to East Mills Complex were adjusted last month, but students say it is still not enough.

College spokesman Jim Chiavelli said they adjusted the times from the original schedule as a result of concerns.

“We are always open to re-evaluating the schedule when concerns are raised by a number of students who agree on possible solutions, and hope to work through the SGA to capture the opinion of the greatest number of students,” Chiavelli said.

As students try to make the best of it, they are still left with frustration. Junior Katelyn Thomas said, “If we are not allowed to park on campus even temporarily, we should have a better and more reliable way to get back to campus.”

Students are hesitant to trust the shuttle. Thomas thinks that the shuttle times are not sufficient.

She said that traffic or a delay of some sorts with the shuttle makes it impossible to run an errand before class because she does not want to risk being late for class. She also finds it difficult to wait for the specific shuttle times and cannot resolve her schedule around them.

Junior Heather MacArthur agreed.

“Relying on a shuttle can be frustrating. If you are early at East Mills you can find yourself trapped waiting there for the next shuttle to arrive,” MacArthur said.

In previous years, Merrimack residents were allowed to park in parking lots J and K on campus. Most resident seniors and juniors who wanted parking were able to get a parking decal for those lots and the remainder of the decals were given to sophomores through a lottery process.

This year, Lot J is designated for commuters, faculty, and staff, leaving the only lot for residents Lot K in the back of campus. Parking fees for residents was raised $200 from last year and the only students who were guaranteed a parking decal were seniors. Juniors were entered into a lottery and everyone else is free to park at the off-campus East Mills Complex.

“It really is just quite the run around for a task that should be convenient. The point of having a car on campus would be to make things more convenient but the East Mills parking options really throws a wrench in that one,” Thomas said.

MacArthur also finds it limits her job search because the shuttle times hinder her availability.

With these new parking changes, the school is trying to figure out their options based on opinions they hear from students. Most students make it known that parking lot J can never be seen full, but Chiavelli said that is about to change as faculty, staff, and commuters will soon no longer be able to park on the grass near the Route 114 side of campus as the weather changes.

MacArthur finds it heartbreaking to see Lot J almost always empty, especially on weekends.

“Right now it is sadly just a waste of space,” she said.

Chiavelli said that weekend parking at Lot J is being considered.

“If we make such a change we will announce it shortly by email,” Chiavelli said.