Construction Limits Campus Parking as Campus Safety Elevates Enforcement Efforts

Rio Lacey, Staff Writer


Amidst several ongoing construction projects, Colgate students who have a car on campus are facing reduced parking options. The few spaces available have become more limited by the closure of the lot behind Olin Hall and the partial closure of Lally Lane, disrupting parking and a major route of campus circulation.

Director of Campus Safety Terri Stewart explained that the recent decrease in parking options is primarily due to two construction initiatives.

“We have two current construction projects that have resulted in the loss of some parking spaces on campus, both for the Olin Hall renovation and expansion, and now for work underway to build the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation,” Stewart said.

The Olin Hall renovation and expansion project caused the attached parking lot on Oak Drive to close, leading to a greater scarcity of parking on upper campus for faculty during the academic day. Down the hill, the more recently begun construction of the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation means that a considerable portion of the parking spots on Lally Lane — specifically those closest to the intersection with College Street — will no longer be viable options for students or faculty.

No changes in parking regulations were introduced for the 2022-2023 academic year. The restrictions on parking from Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., remain in place. As the competition for parking spots grows, Campus Safety is met with a greater responsibility to regulate the on-campus lots.

To respond to increased parking demand in the General Use Lot adjacent to Community Memorial Hospital and the Reid Athletic Center, University officials announced in a Sept. 8 message that all students with Colgate-registered vehicles would be permitted to park in the 113 Broad Street lot, a major change from standard parking policy. With general parking pass holders now able to park overnight in this lot, available spaces during the academic day have decreased.

At the time of this message, no additional parking was reserved for those with off-campus parking passes who previously had reserved access to parking spaces in the 113 Broad Street Lot during the academic day. With Lally Lane’s partial closure and this lot’s recent changes, some students remark that finding a spot is increasingly difficult for off-campus parking pass holders. They also note safety concerns caused by traffic patterns changed without notice or appropriate signage.

“As an off-campus student, the new construction on Lally Lane is an extreme nuisance. It’s brutal just trying to find a parking spot to get to class,” senior and off-campus resident Brynn Kauffman said.

Senior Director, Communications and Media Relations Daniel DeVries notes that the University has, as of Wednesday, Oct. 27 added signage to address the changing traffic patterns.

“In addition to the existing barriers in the road, you may notice additional signage has been added to alert drivers to the fact that Lally Lane is partially closed as new steam lines are installed in preparation for the construction of the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation,” DeVries said. “While we understand navigating the partial road closure is an inconvenience, a decision was made to keep sections of the lane open in an effort to save as many parking spaces as possible during construction. We thank the community for its patience and understanding as the University works to build one of the anchors of the Middle Campus Plan for Arts, Creativity, and Innovation.”

Students with already limited parking options feel discouraged by these changes, as articulated by sophomore Meghan Subak.

“The lack of options has definitely created competition for students,” Subak said. “Last semester, I used to not have to put much thought into finding a parking spot on the weekends, but now, I have less options and from those few spots, I can never actually find a parking space.”

Sophomore Elisabeth Hoerle also expressed dissatisfaction with the on-campus options for students with parking permits, saying that it is significantly more difficult to access her car on weekends compared to last semester.

“I brought my car here so that it would speed up the process of going off campus and running errands, but I end up spending so much extra time walking to my car that it feels more like a burden,” Hoerle said.

On top of the construction’s effects, students say they have also felt an increase in the number of parking tickets issued compared to previous semesters. The Colgate Maroon-News could not verify any change in the frequency of issued infractions.

Hoerle said that she felt unclear about the regulations and that both she and many of her peers have gotten fined since returning from summer recess for not knowing the correct restrictions.

“Last year, I never got ticketed for keeping my car up the hill on Fridays and Saturdays because they made it seem like it was allowed, but the first time I did it this year I got a ticket for parking overnight,” Hoerle said. “Now, on the weekends I park down the hill because I’m scared of getting another ticket.”

Campus Safety is aware of this complaint. Stewart emphasized that the overnight parking regulations for on-campus lots have always been the same, but enforcement and citation efforts have been increased due to more complaints and infractions and changing parking availability.

“Recent enforcement efforts in this area have been elevated as a result of the large volume of complaints and infractions that have come to the attention of Campus Safety,” Stewart said. “Campus safety conducts continuous patrols and issues citations for infractions either on view or upon receiving a parking complaint by a community member.”

Stewart added that Campus Safety continues to exercise caution when enforcing traffic regulations on campus.

“We understand the challenges created by ongoing construction and campus safety officers have been instructed to exercise considerable care in issuing citations, while at the same time maintaining order around parking and traffic control,” she said.

However, Stewart noted that Colgate is currently in the process of adding another option for parking up the hill, an option that will hopefully alleviate some of the issues seen now.

“The good news is that two new parking lots with more than 30 spaces have been constructed behind the Saperstein Jewish Center and Human Resources to help make up some of those spaces lost due to construction,” Stewart said.

These new parking spots would help make up for some of the spaces lost due to construction and create more options for non-overnight, up-the-hill weekend parking. While it doesn’t alleviate all parking challenges, Campus Safety wants to emphasize that this is a temporary setback for students during the process of major campus improvements.

“We think this temporary inconvenience will ultimately be very worthwhile,” Stewart said. “The resulting new facilities will bring many new opportunities, as outlined in the Third-Century Plan.