The Bates Parking Crisis


Credit: Katherine Merisotis

If you have a vehicle on campus, you know what I’m talking about. You know that the “issued parking pass” to “physical parking spot” ratio is far from equal – and no, we do not have a surplus of student parking spots, but rather quite the opposite problem:

Bates doesn’t have enough student parking. Let’s talk about it.

The great car scramble typically occurs between the hours of 3-6pm on days in which a winter storm parking ban goes into effect; these bans are put in place by the city of Lewiston to ensure that the streets can be adequately plowed, thus, a car parked on the street during a parking ban will be towed. 

If you miss the time frame in which people park their cars in a student parking lot, then chances are that you’re out of luck. 

Ok, what now? You’ve scoured each and every parking lot on campus, to no avail. You’re faced with two options: park on the street and risk being towed and fined by the city, or park in a faculty parking spot and risk acquiring a ticket from Bates Campus Safety, with an additional fee tacked on to the already high tuition price. The lesser of two evils is to take your chances in parking in a faculty spot.

If you have a car, and if you drive often, then you know how frustrating this can be. I have friends who will refuse to utilize their car if they find a good parking spot out of fear that they will be unable to find one if they leave. While it is true that you can appeal a parking ticket, it can be difficult to win your case, and the process often ends in further frustration. 

There are many cases in which unfair parking tickets are distributed, and not only during snow storms. Many parking signs around campus are faded and illegible, and students who cannot read these signs get fined regardless of Bates’ failure to utilize proper signage. 

Parking complaints are rampant around campus, making several Blind Tiger appearances, with one post stating, “I’m convinced that campus security literally exists only to tax students for parking.”

Many students have observed how the faculty lots are often empty, with a noticeable amount of available spots — especially during winter weather conditions. Several students wonder why there is always available parking for faculty, but rarely parking for students during the winter months. Perhaps some of the faculty parking could be converted to student parking in order to ensure that both Bates faculty and Bates students have access to parking, especially since one has to pay a yearly fee in order to obtain a parking permit. 

All in all, parking on campus is an issue that needs to be addressed by Bates. There clearly are not enough parking spaces, and most students feel as if Bates needs more student parking.