BY EMILY CONSEVAGE
Parking at McKendree University has been an issue among students and faculty for the past few years. Though the university has not made any drastic changes to resolve this problem, President Dennis and administration are well aware of this issue. There are currently eight parking lots for students, not including Stanton Street. The faculty members have four parking lots that are off-limits to students during the week. However, faculty can essentially park anywhere they want.
Additionally, many McKendree students and faculty have noticed that the city of Lebanon has taken away many of the parking spots on campus. Merrill Street was another parking option for the McKendree community, but now the city of Lebanon has established “No Parking” signs, for the entire street. No one can park there from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It has not been confirmed as to why Merrill Street has put in “No Parking” signs, but it has been rumored that the Mayor of Lebanon lives on that street. Residents, along with the Mayor, were getting frustrated about students and faculty blocking their driveways, so Lebanon took action and enforced parking restrictions.
The question is, should McKendree build more parking lots to resolve this issue? A commuter, Morgan Albers, believes that McKendree should build a parking section for commuters only. She states, “I’ve had a lot of troubles finding parking, which has caused me to be late for class due to parking far away.” Furthermore, when McKendree hosts sporting events, people could use the commuter lot instead of blocking off parking lot C, which happens to be the biggest parking lot at McKendree.
Why is parking a constant issue at McKendree? One of the main reasons is that resident students do not have designated parking lots. If there was a parking lot for residents to park and leave their cars, then more parking would be available in the bigger parking lots around campus. Whether you’re a student or faculty member, you’re allowed to park on campus, depending on what parking sticker you have. However, this can cause an issue for those who live off campus because residents do not move their cars until the weekend.
McKendree University does not force anyone to pay for parking, but other universities do. For example, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) has different parking lots that students have to pay for. The cheapest amount for parking is $150 for a year. This parking lot happens to be the farthest away from campus; the closer lots are more expensive. SIUE junior, Darrah Hill, shared her thoughts on whether McKendree should change their parking system or not. When asked if she would change SIUE’s parking system to the way it was at McKendree, Hill stated, “Yes. I would only change it for the reason that I would not have to pay for parking, but I would make different parking lots where only certain people could park.” Though we technically have this system of parking in certain areas based on parking stickers, our student body is getting larger every year, and Lebanon should realize that more parking lots would benefit the McKendree community.
Another way McKendree could resolve this parking madness would be to not let first year students have their cars during their first year at McKendree and to possibly have people who live out at McKendree West either walk, ride their bikes, carpool or just take the Bogey bus. While McKendree University cannot force students to use other forms of transportation, encouraging students to get to class through other transportation could help resolve these issues of limited parking spaces on campus.
Parking has been a big issue on campus for the past few years, but recently the university has built a new parking lot located at the Bearcat Den apartments. Though this is not a huge parking lot, it is a start. Since McKendree is growing in size each year, building more parking lots within the next year could eliminate all of the parking problems this campus continues to have.
Cover photo credit: Anna Belmonte