New fees eliminate free parking on and off campus in Glassboro

Glassboro residents and Rowan students must pay to park outside of businesses, on campus, or the street in Glassboro. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

The signs that parking in Glassboro was about to change started slowly and were nearly imperceptible at first. 

Just graphics on the electronic billboards that flip through various ads announcing that parking around the town would move to be registered and paid for through the Flowbird app. 

Due to the borough’s subtlety in the announcement, which especially affected non-residents, it was surprising and frustrating when students, particularly those who commute, returned to campus after winter break to signs around Glassboro requiring payment for formerly free parking spaces. 

When contacted for comment, Glassboro’s Office of Code Enforcement said they were still deciding internally whether or not they wanted to make a public comment on the issue of parking. 

Mike Kantner is the assistant vice president for public safety and the emergency management coordinator.

“Because of the influx of people and to enhance the businesses, because a lot of people were parking all day long in front of a business and there wasn’t turnover. And I think they’ve got some plans to try to do some developing that’ll go along with their master plan. I don’t think Glassboro’s charging to try to fund Glassboro. I don’t think they wrote a ticket yet. Because I was in a meeting the other day, and they said, ‘We haven’t even issued a ticket yet.’ It’s just the wave of the future, like every other town. And I think the first violation might be $1, or something like that. So I don’t believe it’s, I use the term money grab,” said Kantner.

Kantner also believes that the pricing is fair, as Glassboro’s parking charges are small compared to those in other towns in New Jersey, particularly shore towns. 

At the same time that Glassboro began charging for parking, the parking garages run by Nexus on Rowan Boulevard and Mick Drive ended the free one-hour parking they previously offered. While this one-hour limit was hardly enforced before, with most people able to park for hours without any ticketing or disruption, if a person overstays or does not register their car in the spot after parking, they are at risk of receiving an $8 ticket, which rises by another $8 every day it goes unpaid. 

This move similarly had little warning, with the only thing telegraphing it being signs with the QR codes being put up, but covered with paper until the paying requirements were implemented. 

Kim Dowd is the director of operations for Nexus Parking Systems.

“The reason that we have stopped giving the one-hour parking on the lower level is, with the township coming to paid parking, everybody would park on the ground floor, so the customers wouldn’t have anywhere to park to actually go into the businesses. That is the reason why we just stopped doing the one-hour pay, we have to match what the Borough does. We do still have a half hour free on the ground floor,” said Dowd. 

Dowd also claimed that she has not received any customer complaints about the move to paid parking since it has been implemented. 

The university was informed that the city and Nexus planned to start charging for parking when the decisions were made, though no one working for Rowan had any say in how, when, or if the idea was implemented. 

Parking throughout Rowan’s campus is also limited and considered by many to be notoriously difficult, as Rowan’s parking permit website states that the purchase of a permit does not guarantee students a parking space. 

The limited parking on campus paired with the new restrictions and required payment through Glassboro’s municipality and Nexus have been an area of concern and frustration for some students, particularly those who have difficulty finding parking close to class buildings, as many formerly relied on free parking in the Nexus garages. 

Grace Ferrie is a student at Rowan.

“I think it’s really unfair that students have to spend so much money to go here and to live here. And then we also have to pay to park on our own campus, where we live. Because you have to spend like $180… on a parking pass. But then if you want to go visit a friend on another side of campus, you have to pay for parking there too. You have to pay for parking on the Boulevard… they recently took away the one-hour free parking on the first floor of the parking garage, which I just think is crazy, because technically… if I’m taking groceries from my car or something… I could technically get ticketed for that because I’m not paying to park there for 15 minutes,” said Ferrie.

Despite the feelings and concerns of students throughout the campus, Kantner says that parking is plentiful, though it’s not always convenient. 

“We have plenty of parking. It’s just not convenient parking. Everybody wants to be able to park in front of the door, including staff and faculty. And it just isn’t feasible because of the volume of parking and the students there…over on Ellis Street, there are 200 spots over there. Nobody wants to take the shuttle,” said Kantner. 

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