In January 2018, SNHU’s Public Safety office established new policies relating to resident and commuter parking on campus that would affect students and staff in the spring semester.
These parking changes were made based on recent surveys done by Public Safety officers which measured how many cars were parked in each lot. These surveys ensure a better understanding of which parking lots are being utilized, which ones are being ignored and what times of day parking is the most concentrated.
“It helps us to make projections,” said James Winn, Director of Public Safety. “We also go back towards the end of the semester to make sure that things are holding true as far as the parking usage. So, based on those numbers and any changes that are happening on campus, we may make an adjustment like we did in this case.”
Winn went on to explain the different factors that were considered when deciding how to best manage the lack of parking on campus. He brought up how a lot of commuter parking was lost in the lot in front of Washington Hall due to the expanding construction of Kingston Hall.
In their pursuit of rectifying this issue, the Public Safety office found that resident lots 5 and 10 near the lower suites were heavily underused, with over 100 spaces being open on a typical day. Meanwhile, resident lot 18, which is located near Exeter and New Castle, had 45 open spaces. So, in an attempt to make the parking arrangements more efficient, Public Safety designated lots 5 and 10 as resident parking for all students living on the West side of campus and lot 18 is designated as a commuter parking lot.
Another important parking change that was made this semester regards Monadnock residents. Winn revealed that when Public Safety performed their parking survey last semester, they found that the installment of the Monadnock building caused a much higher demand for parking on the East side which resulted in not many spaces being available. Once they discovered this, Public Safety began working towards a solution that would allow for a more equal distribution of parking near the apartments.
“When [Monadnock] opened, for the first time ever we had more students living on the East side of campus than we did on the West side,” he said. “Years and years ago, all of our buildings were only on the West side of campus. It’s really been within the last fifteen years we’ve started to develop the East side,” he said.
Public Safety decided to designate a section of lot 26, which is located behind the Monadnock apartments, as a resident lot for those living in the building. Lot 28, near the new tennis courts, is also available for Monadnock residents, however Public Safety encourages students to park in lot 26 instead to allow visitors and commuters the spaces available in lot 28.
Winn explained that these parking changes are only temporary, and that the university is working to fix the issue. They have already made a contract with a design firm, and finished the permitting phase for construction on new parking lots which will be available in the 2018 fall semester.
This construction project should begin in late spring and will establish approximately 500 new parking spaces throughout the campus.
Many students have thoughts about how the parking changes set in place this semester affects them.
“It’s beneficial on the weekends for outside people who want to watch games and go to other events. It is good parking for parents and visitors, but as a student living right there in New Castle, it is not ideal when you have to walk up a giant hill when you’re paying to live on campus,” said Jenna Fitzgerald (‘19).
Chris Holmes (‘21), a commuter student, also had thoughts on the current parking arrangements.
“Right now, if you don’t get to school by 9 o’clock, you have to park in the huge commuter lot in the way back usually, which is a pretty good walk from main campus, which in bad weather can be annoying,” he said.
After construction on the parking lots is completed, students and faculty can expect to see 100 new parking spaces in lot 26, 100 parking spaces replacing the old tennis courts near the athletic complex, 100 spaces near the College of Engineering, Technology and Aeronautics (CETA) building, 50 new spaces in the lower suites parking lot, 40 new spaces in lot 13 behind the townhouses and another new parking lot behind Monadnock with over 100 spaces.
“Any impact that anybody is feeling right now, I would say that we really appreciate their patience and understanding,” said Winn.