Story was updated on March 24, 2014.
Finding a parking spot after 10:00 a.m. on a weekday morning is a challenge that many Carroll Community College students face daily.
The lots fill up quickly, and nobody wants to park as far away as the overflow lot.
Parking at Carroll is unique in that, as there are no dorms on campus, everyone who comes to the college, commutes to it. The-Quill recently conducted an online survey to gauge current feelings towards the parking situation at Carroll. The survey found that it is not just students who struggle daily with finding a parking spot. Teachers also have trouble, especially when students park in faculty designated spaces.
What happens when students parking in faculty parking?
Campus security is in charge of ticketing drivers who park where they are not permitted. Records of parking tickets issued by campus security since 2012 show that almost half of all violations consisted of students or other non-authorized persons parking in a faculty space.
Records of parking violations before 2012 were not kept on file.
Chief of Public Safety and Security, Wayne Livesay, said campus police enforce parking policies during regular school hours and that after 5 p.m. they do not ticket as many drivers who park in staff spaces because they “would like drivers to park as closely to the buildings as possible,” in the evening hours.
Tickets given in the evening hours are more likely to be warning tickets than if the offense occurred during the day.
Warning tickets are also given during the first few weeks of school; although, police always ticket drivers who park in fire lanes and those who park in handicapped spots without a handicapped tag.
If a person who receives a ticket is a member of the faculty or is a student then the college can take administrative action.
Executive Vice President, Alan Schuman, says, “In a student’s case it would mean a charge on your tuition bill and until that bill was paid…you would not be able to graduate, get your transcripts… we don’t turn them over to the the legal system, the MVA, to respond.”
How is snow plowing handled?
The harsh winter has meant a lot of snow piling up on the edges of the parking lots. Due to the high snowfall amounts, when the parking lot is plowed several spaces are lost to piles of snow.
Schuman stated, “The parking lots are owned and maintained by the Carroll County Government.” He also added that “There is limited space to move the snow, the County is not going to come in and put the snow on trucks and remove it from campus. So the reality is, when it snows, we lose parking space.”
While there could be an improvement to the plowing of Carroll lots, Ted Zaleski, director of Management and Budget for the Carroll County government, says “personnel and equipment for snow plowing are spread over approximately 1,000 miles of roads and dozens of facilities including the College. Often, the focus is on getting or keeping everything open.”
What is being done about the lack of parking spaces?
According to Schuman, the amount of parking spaces the school has is dependent on both its number of buildings and facilities as well as student enrollment. The state of Maryland uses a formula to calculate how many parking spaces need to be added to the college when a new building is built. The college must give the state a projection of how many students they believe will be attending over the next ten years and the state calculates how many spaces should be added.
Other survey responses received by The-Quill suggested that Carroll add a parking garage to create more parking, and the Carroll vision board outlines two parking garages for the campus.
In regards to these suggestions, Schuman stated, “To initiate the project… The county government would pay half and the state has to pay half. But, the county government has to commit first before the state will entertain the project.”
According to Schuman, “So far the county government has not approved this project so it’s still in our master plan… We continue to request [funding], we’ve requested this year and the answer preliminary is ‘no,’ but we will continue to request [funding]”
In response to questions addressing the funding for the addition of a parking garage on the Carroll campus, Zaleski said, “The county doesn’t have the resources to fund every good idea. Every year the budget is a set of decisions on what will get funded and what will not. So far, other needs have been higher priorities.”
Director of Public Works for Carroll County, Thomas Rio, added, “The proposed parking garage has been included in the capital budget request in the past and those requests have not been funded… It is a balancing act between the requests, the competing funding needs across the entire County budget, the available dollars to fund those requests, and the responsibility to the tax payer’s expectations to spend responsibly.”
Proposals for the addition of a parking garage are made to the Carroll County budget office who then make a recommendation to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, who decide if the funding will be approved or not.
While The-Quill‘s parking survey has shown that several students and faculty are dissatisfied with parking at Carroll, without approval from the County government, the parking lots will remain largely the same.
“Parking is, obviously, of concern,” says Schuman, “We want more parking spaces on campus, we’ve been seeking funding for a parking garage or a parking lot for the last four years and will continue to do so, that said, we have enough parking spaces for most occasions, even though it’s not always convenient.”
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners did not respond to requests for comment.