Building of townhouses will cause trouble for commuters

Parking on campus at St. John’s has never been easy. With a considerable commuter population, not to mention resident student car owners, the parking lots here are always packed during class hours. With the increase in construction going on around campus, the lots are poised to be even more overcrowded this upcoming year. Without a doubt, parking has emerged as a concern for anyone driving on campus.

The center of this issue is the fact that commuters have lost an entire lot to the construction of townhouses to expand resident housing. All of the spaces that have been consumed by the townhouse project would have been filled while class was in session last year, which leads to an important question: where will all of those students park their cars now? This year, students will face greater competition for the parking that remains near the townhouse construction, next to and beneath the soccer stadium, and around the law school. This could produce problems of its own. With the same number of students contending for fewer parking spaces, this increases the possibility of accidents or even fighting over the limited spaces. Students could always park off campus, although those who have already purchased parking passes might not be so willing to employ this option.

Although expansion is necessary for a growing university, the placement of the townhouses over former commuter parking has resulted in a situation that will undoubtedly be unpopular with commuters. This issue could have been prevented if the University had selected a different
location for the townhouses. For example, rather than leaving the large ROTC building as a new Public Safety and Office of Student Services building, St. John’s could have torn it down and used the space for the townhouses. Public Safety and Student Services would then remain in their original offices. However, as the metal structures of the new buildings are already standing on the former parking lot, it is probably too late to save it. One possible solution that could be put into use right now would be to open up the parking lot next to the softball field for commuter parking.

Although it would be a little out of the way, the additional spaces would certainly help to stem the
overcrowding of the lots currently in use. As it stands now, commuters are looking to have a tough time at school this year, before they even enter the classroom.