by Alexa Watts
With the new semester well underway many stressed out students who drive to school must face the problem of finding parking in time to get to their classes.
Adrian Burton, a 23-year old senior at City College, drives from Westchester to Harlem every day. “I have to get to school at least 45 minutes before my class starts in order for me to find a parking space and sometimes I’m still late for class,” he says. “It affects my attendance and my grade which is annoying because I’m a good student otherwise.”
Burton is just one of hundreds of students who face the same problem.
According to the Office of Institutional Research at City College, the vast majority of CCNY students commute to school every day, many by car. In 2010 only 20.8 percent lived in Manhattan, while over 60 percent live in the surrounding boroughs. This may explain the lack of available parking spaces.
Lieutenant George Crinnion, who manages the distribution of parking at City College, confirms that parking is a problem. “We are in Manhattan; 34 acres of parking is very limited,” he says.
According to Crinnion the school has no room to build a student parking lot. The current parking lot is strictly for faculty only. Crinnion’s advice to students? “Use public transportation.”
But many students say they prefer to drive. It’s cheaper and more convenient for some. Sandra Martinez, a 23-year-old senior who travels from New Rochelle to Harlem each morning, says, “Even though parking is a disaster I still rather drive. It’s a give and take; I sleep less because I have to get up earlier to find parking but it’s cheaper than taking the Metro North.”
John P. McKee, director of public safety and security, says there isn’t much CCNY can do to help students like Martinez and Burton. “There is limited parking due to construction, and there are buildings being built everywhere,” he says. “The Towers used to be an area for parking and now they are building two new science buildings. Most CUNY colleges don’t have student parking, and there is no physical space that the college owns.”
Despite the problem, students have found creative ways to cope. Some commuter students carpool, while others schedule their classes after alternate side street parking rules are over, allowing more available parking spaces. McKee related with students about the frustrations of finding parking and provided a list parking garages students can use that are near the school. But ultimately with parking being so tight, the best option to avoid these parking woes is to use public transportation.
As George Crinnion says, “When the tectonic plates shift under New York and there is more land we will be able to have parking.”