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Despite Available Spaces Parking Woes Return With the Spring Term

By Hussein Ali Rifath

When freshman William Conboy drove to campus on a recent Thursday morning, he arrived to find the parking near the University Center full at 9 am. He spent an extra 12 minutes driving around campus to find an available spot and was forced to run to get to his first class on time.

For many, that’s been a common experience this semester. Commuting to school is a reality for 80 percent of the undergraduate students at Adelphi, and they are increasingly finding parking on campus to be an uphill battle––despite the fact that according to Raymond Hughes, chief of Campus Safety & Emergency Management, there are plenty of spaces.

“All the commuters I know talk about the parking,” said sophomore Leannan Harcourt-Brooke. Later in the day, parking near the classroom halls becomes particularly difficult. “Once you get to midday, there is definitely crowding,” added Conboy.

Hughes said there are 4,831 students and 2,700 staff and faculty currently registered for parking decals “but these numbers are arbitrary due to the fact that everyone is not on campus at one time and two parking decals can be requested by each individual.”

Even so, Hughes said not only have we not reached full capacity on campus since before Covid, there are enough spaces to go around. “With ample parking options always available, there is little to no crowding,” he said. “We monitor parking conditions and space availability daily and we have yet to reach full capacity.”

According to Hughes, there are 2,796 spaces available on campus and 310 at the neighboring Garden City pool. Adelphi students have access to a total of 11 parking areas, two of which, the Hy Weinberg and Garden City pool, are a considerable walk away from the main campus. These areas contain most of the remaining parking spaces throughout the day.

“There are always between 100 and 200 spots available on the main campus and over 300 at the Garden City pool daily,” Hughes said. “A slight reduction of spaces is due to the correction of an unsafe traffic pattern in Parking Field #6 between Waldo and Chapman Halls. This change has not had a negative impact on parking for current students, faculty and staff.”

Hughes pointed out that Motamed Garage, Parking Fields #5, #7 and #8 and the Garden City Pool, which is Parking Field #9, are the least utilized. The issue isn’t a shortage of parking spaces, but that spaces nearest to students’ classes may fill up first–making the problem a lack of "convenient" parking. “I understand that to be if you have a class in Hagedorn, and you can't find parking in the vicinity of that building, you don't want to park near Post Hall,” Hughes said.

These areas are often used as a last resort by students, staff and faculty. For example, Natalia Prado, a professor at the Biology Department, said she doesn’t usually park at the Garden City pool. “I think that’s a little far for me,” she said.

Students’ parking woes came to a head with the start of this term. “I think it’s more of an issue now that a lot more classes are back in person. During Covid, it wasn’t as much of an issue because a lot of classes were online,” said senior Ashley Bermudez.

For the past four semesters, that has allowed students to park in spaces that sit comfortably close to their classroom halls, making for much-needed convenience.

Parking at Adelphi was similarly difficult before the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. David Campmier, a professor at the History Department, said, “When I was an undergraduate [at Adelphi] during the 2010s, if you didn’t get here earlier on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you probably didn’t get parking on campus. You had to park off-campus or at Hy Weinberg.”

“And there’s still no parking? That’s sad,” said sophomore Roya Parsa.

Commuters have worked to adapt to the current circumstances. “I’ve gotten into the habit of leaving extra early,” said Parsa.

Change, however, has not come easy. Because students have to leave their homes extra early to ensure they get parking, they are also losing time to rest. “This week I’ve been pretty tired and out of it. This morning, I was less focused in one of my classes,” said Conboy.

Some students have turned to becoming more competitive drivers. “After 10 o'clock, you have to stalk [parking] spots to get them,” said Conboy.

“I stole someone’s spot like two days ago,” said Parsa. “He wasn’t very happy, and I got honked at but I needed the spot. It’s kill or be killed and I took the spot.”

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be the most difficult days to park. “On Mondays, I notice cars already parked in the underground parking, whereas most other days I’m usually one of the first cars to park there,” said Dr. Prado.

“Parking depends on the time,” said Conboy. “When I’m here by 8:30 [in the morning], it’s very easy and there’s lots of spots. Later in the day, like 9:30-10 [in the morning], there’s nothing.”

Bermudez has had a similar experience. “If I don’t get here early before class, there’s usually not much parking close to the building I need to go to.”

Driving to campus remains a popular method of commuting for the ever-growing Adelphi community. According to Hughes, however, the university has no plans to expand existing parking space. This concerns Bermudez. “I think that there’s not as many places to park than there should be, given that this is a commuter school,” she said. Parsa echoed that sentiment: “There’s no space as is.”

As the campus grows more crowded, some students may be interested in using other forms of transportation. Adelphi’s shuttle service, for example, connects students to public transportation at the Hempstead Bus terminal and both the Nassau Boulevard and Mineola LIRR stations.

It’s possible that an expansion of this service to other transit hubs could motivate some students to leave the car at home, and ease vehicular congestion on campus. However, the price for taking round-trips on public transportation almost every day can add up rather quickly.

Access is another concern. “I feel that right now, shuttle service is mainly geared towards dormers’ needs,” said Harcourt-Brooke. “If they geared the shuttle more towards what commuters need, then they wouldn’t need to bring cars to campus as much and it might help with the crowding.” For many students, commuting by public transportation would prove too inconvenient. “My commute would be a lot more difficult if I wasn’t driving, given where I live [Queens],” said Bermudez.

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