Parking has always been a big topic of discussion among students and faculty on Rowan University’s campus. The main issues that have come up this year are with students who commute and students who park in the Rowan Boulevard parking garage.
Rowan works together with Nexus in order to sell 900 out of the 1,194 spots in the parking garage to students from Whitney, Holly Point, 220 Rowan Blvd, and the Rowan Blvd apartments.
“They’re a private business and they work very well with us, Rowan University rents 900 spots in that garage so we can sell them to our students,” Michael Kantner, the assistant vice president, and Office of Emergency Management coordinator. “After those 900 hundred are given up to our students, there’s no one left. Before they give a student a pass they check with us to make sure they’re not freshman or sophomore.”
Kantner works with Nexus and Rowan students who want permits to park on campus.
This year, students are finding it difficult to find spaces below the floors 5 and 6 of the Rowan Blvd parking garage, some students are even being told there might not be a spot for them to park. Kantner’s theory is that the businesses on campus are growing, and the more people soliciting the businesses the more parking they are taking up.
“The businesses are pumping up a little bit more and they have their 2-hour free parking,” Kantner said. “This year that fact is also changing. As a result of students using the 2-hour parking to drive to their classes, the 2 hours are being knocked down to one.”
“They want to have the first floor reserved for the businesses, so a student doesn’t come in and park for a class, they want customers to come in and park for two hours,” Kantner said. “The businesses were complaining that they have garage parking and people were coming in saying that there’s no place to park. Now students must grab a ticket and drive up through the garage if they wish to park for classes on that side of campus. Students who bought a Rowan Blvd. parking pass are now competing with guests at the Marriot Hotel, customers of the businesses on Rowan Blvd, and each other.
“900 students are not going to parking all at once, and they know that,” Kantner said. “But they will not overfill it to where people who pay to park there can’t get in. In theory, during the day not all 900 kids are going to be there, but if 900 kids go to sleep at night at 220, Whitney, Rowan Blvd…they should be able to park overnight.”
He also suggested that if any student who pays for a parking permit in the Rowan Blvd garage gets turned away, they should make a formal complaint with Nexus management.”
“Im in my fourth year of commuting at Rowan and I still have trouble finding parking,” said senior Mathematics Major Brooke Elsworth. “If you don’t get to the lots at the perfect time you won’t find a spot. I have missed classes before because I couldn’t find a spot even when I showed up early.”
The time change on the first floor of the parking garage has caused more commuters to move to the upper levels of the garage. This is frustrating for students who pay over $300 to park in the Rowan Blvd garage while the commuters only pay $160. There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to commuter parking that are easier for all of the students on campus.
“If [commuters] want to save money park in the Ellis St. lot and take the shuttle, Dean Jones improved the shuttle and they even put an app to tell you when it’s there. It’s only $40 a semester,” Kantner said. The Ellis St. lot has over 200 spots and is very rarely used. Commuters that park there would save money and could take the shuttle to and from their classes. If more commuters used this lot it would open up other spaces across campus, especially in the garage
“We will have parking if you are a commuter, we don’t guarantee convenient parking, and that includes faculty and staff,” Kantner said.
Over the summer Linden Hall was knocked down and is now being replaced with more faculty parking. But instead of only adding additional parking there is a plan to transform Lot J into a new academic building. The number of parking spots will drop from almost 200 hundred to around 60.
“We will have parking if you are a commuter, we don’t guarantee convenient parking, and that includes faculty and staff,” Kantner said. “The pain is shared by all.”
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