The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Parking Woes Continue

After more than a month of waiting, the parking spaces under Belson Stadium will finally be opened on Friday, before the construction of St. Thomas More Church begins in December.

“We have applied for the final [New York State] inspection and its just a matter of time before they come,” Anthony Pacheco, the executive vice president of Facilities and Construction, said. “It looks 100 percent done, the striping is done, the lights are done, but we’re just literally caught up in the paperwork.”

But the delay has caused students to deal with overcrowding.

“We lost practically a whole other semester of no parking due to the fact that it wasn’t open,” Neel Kahirsariya, a junior computer science major, said. “It’s horrible and it ruins your whole schedule.” Often students have to arrive to school hours earlier in hopes of finding a parking space.

“The majority of the students here are commuter students, and it’s not carrying out the needs of the commuter students,” Anthony Costa, a junior computer science major, said.

The eventual reopening of the 270 parking spaces under the stadium will bring the number of parking spaces available for commuter students up to 3,671, including the 250 space lot built adjacent to the law school last year.

“When the Belson parking spots come back on board we will be up by 250 spaces,” Pacheco said. “Now when we take on the church it will replace the 250 spots there.”

But students said they feel parking must be increased. “They have to at least double the parking on campus before building anything else,” Costa said.

Pacheco said the long term solution to parking on campus includes an increase parking by 700 spaces. One way, he said, is by opening the roofs of the three current parking garages along Union Turnpike.

The project is behind schedule due to an ongoing building appeals process with the Bureau of Standards and Appeals, and is expected to open in December, Pacehco said.

Once the University is granted approval, the pipes in the ground that disconnect each of the parking garages will be removed. This will give students total access to all the spaces, without the hassle of leaving one garage to enter another.

Within three months of approval the roofs will also be accessible to commuters and the total number of spaces available will be increased to 900 from 675, the highest number parking spaces available in one place in five years.

Plans to build a garage for 200 resident students next to Red Storm Field is also being reviewed by the BSA and will free the 200 spaces behind Sullivan Hall and St. Albert Hall once constructed.

“[The University] is in an in between period. We haven’t fully built out our Master Plan, with our resident dorms, so we’re not quite not where we want to be with parking,” Pacheco said. “Our goal is 4,100 spaces when we’re finally all built.”

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