The Perils of Persistent Parking Problems

Loghan Hirkey, Staff Writer

Since I arrived at Villanova, it has been clear to me that University Parking Services cracks down rather harshly on many students for parking violations on campus. 

Both commuters and full-time residential parkers on campus are given a specific area where they can park. If they do not abide by this, they can expect a $15 parking ticket almost immediately. At a glance, this seems like a fair rule, but the number of problems that arise for students because of this rule is staggering. 

Just last week, I went to the Refectory with a friend, who is also a commuter, and she parked behind the Commons. It was pouring, and it seemed absurd to park in the south garage and walk, especially because she has a permit. 

After two hours in the restaurant, she received a parking ticket because her permit was only acceptable for the Law School parking garage on West Campus. If it sounds unreasonable to ask a student to walk in the pouring rain from West Campus to the Refectory, it may seem even more annoying that our other friend, a non-Villanova student, parked in the same area for the same amount of time and did not receive a ticket. 

To me, this shows not only the unfair rules surrounding permits but also, seemingly, the targeting of Villanova students. Would my friend have received a ticket if she had been a non-student? The answer appears to be no. 

Obtaining a permit in itself is also quite difficult. Sarah Wisniewski ‘23 expressed her issues with obtaining a permit.

“I had my first bad experience with Villanova parking when I was a sophomore,” Wisniewski said. “I needed my car because I had an off-campus job. I applied for on-campus work but was never selected for any position, which I voiced to the parking department.”

The difficulties did not end there.

“I had to get my financial advisor involved,” Wisniewski added. “The following semester, my roommate received a permit saying she needed it for grocery shopping. It just did not make sense.”

Even for a reason as crucial as a student trying to make money while in school, they can be repeatedly denied. The inconsistencies simply do not add up either, because how can some students immediately receive a permit, no questions asked, but other students must get their financial advisor involved?  

Wisniewski had more to say about the “villain in her Villanova story.” 

“My junior year, my roommate went through the appropriate process to get a permit, yet had three tickets given to her,” she said. “She expressed these concerns to the parking department, but they assured her the permit was valid. She then got a boot on her car and Public Safety had to come and take it off as well as apologize for the mistake. It is just outrageous how much the parking department seems to care more about money than the students on this campus.”

Junior Matt Yang and senior Cat McCullough also shared their grievances about the hassles of parking on campus. 

“I’d say that the biggest problem is the inflexibility, where you can only have one parking pass, max,” Yang said. “I believe it is unreasonable to expect students with a time crunch to make it from the South parking garage to West Campus.”

McCullough, a commuter with a pass for the Ithan parking garage, expressed concerns for the inability of commuters to park overnight.

“Since I don’t live on campus, I am not allowed a residential pass,” McCullough said. “Not having access to overnight parking on campus encourages drunk driving. The lack of parking, especially for off-campus students, is not only inconvenient, but dangerous.” 

Per McCullough’s point, the problems with parking are not only causing financial issues, but are also increasing the likelihood of unsafe driving.  

Linda Lindley, Director of Parking and Transportation for Villanova, provided insight into the permitting and ticketing processes with which students have found issues. 

“All commuters and junior and senior residents can receive permits,” Lindley said. 

Additionally, on the subject of commuter overnight parking, Lindley stated that overnight spaces are reserved for residents alone, as commuters do not live on campus overnight, so there should be no reason or need for a spot at that time.

Lastly, Lindley expanded on the reasoning for the strictness of Parking Services toward nonadherence to one’s designated parking area.

“This rule applies to faculty and staff, as well as students,” Lindley said. “Everyone has to stay in their designated spot. If not, we would have chaos. That’s why we have the on-campus shuttle, and after nine o’clock the Nova Van On-Demand is there to take staff, faculty and students where they need to go.”

Although parking is limited on campus, and it is understandable that there does need to be some level of regulation, parking enforcement could be better suited to students’ interests about safety, finances and other concerns. As it stands, albeit a somewhat complicated issue, parking stands as an annoyance that should be remedied.