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Monday, Dec 5, 2022

Limited parking availability poses challenge to students on campus

With 2,790 students enrolled at Middlebury this fall, some have found it harder to secure parking spots on campus. While some students claim that this was due to the Department of Public Safety issuing too many permits, Public Safety says that the issue comes down to illegal parking by some students and limited availability of high-demand lots.

There are 986 parking spots on campus and 951 student parking permits currently in use — fall term and full-year combined, according to Demitria Kirby, director of public safety for the college. Public Safety was not able to provide numbers on parking spots and permits broken down by class year.

“Public Safety has seen and heard that some students are not always finding spaces in some of the lots where they would prefer to park,” Kirby said in an email to The Campus. “There is adequate student parking on campus. ​It just may not always be in the lot preferred by the permit holder.”

Niamh Carty ’23 has heard that the price of the parking permits ($115 for the full-year and $65 for the fall semester) is a deterrent for some students, who instead take their chances parking illegally.

“I know a bunch of people that didn't even get a pass and just risked getting tickets everyday, because you would have to get many tickets to add up to the cost of a permit,” Carty said.

The cost of a ticket for a permitted student who parks in an unauthorized lot is $10 the first time they are fined, and the cost of a ticket for illegal parking for an unpermitted student is $50 the first time, according to Kirby.

“We have also found that some students are not always fully aware of all of their parking options. All students received an email on September 10 reminding them to register their vehicle and purchase a parking permit,” Kirby said.

Public Safety has attempted to issue warnings and inform students of the parking rules by email before ticketing students who are parked in prohibited areas, according to Kirby.

Some upperclassmen, who are allowed to park in lots closer to their residence halls after parking further away as underclassmen, have been disappointed with the lack of parking near their residences.

“The other night, I looked in the three lots closest to me and they were all full, so I went down to the MAC. The only spot in the MAC was technically for visitor parking, but I had no other option at that point,” Carty said.

“Past 6 p.m., the Atwater lot and all the lots nearby are usually full,” Sam Segal ’23 said. “I think the school should limit having cars to upperclassmen. There are also way too many faculty spots, like the ones by the FIC are always open, even during the week.”

According to Kirby, Public Safety has adjusted the designations of spaces in areas ​that have been underutilized to better meet student parking needs. For example, some space for “P” Permit holders (second-year students) were added in the Q lot (Mahaney Arts Center).

“Why pay all of this money if I can't even park where I want to park, and, instead, I have to park in the MAC and walk 15 minutes, usually at night in the dark and cold?” Carty said.

Complete parking information is available at the parking information webpage, which states that the purchase of a permit does not guarantee the availability of a specific lot or type of lot.


Lily Jones

Lily Jones ’23 is an online editor and senior writer.

She previously served as a Senior News Writer and SGA Correspondent.

Jones is double majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. She  also is an intern for the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs and on the  ultimate frisbee team.


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