Rowan University embarked on an infrastructure renovation plan known as the University Access Control project over winter break, beginning by repairing gates around campus. The Townhouse Parking Garage was one of the most prominent locations affected by this plan.
Some of these gate repairs require drilling into the ground and won’t be repaired until the weather becomes warmer, when the ground is softer. During last semester, students, faculty and guests would park on the third floor, bypassing the gate, which was stuck in an upward motion. Public Safety noticed a noticeable uptick in unauthorized parking in the fall semester.
“A lot was going on at the end of the fall semester and we weren’t too concerned about watching the space because it was going to be fixed soon,” Public Safety Director Michael Kantner said.
Now that it has been repaired, anyone trying to access the third floor needs a parking pass. The first two floors are dedicated to the students living on campus.
In the past, the entire parking garage was dedicated to the students living in the townhouses or on campus. The Board of Trustees of Rowan University made the decision to allow access to non-residents, leading to a decline in the number of parking permits sold.
During the last couple of years, the third floor has been open to commuters and faculty interested in buying the parking garage permit. There are only a limited number of spots in the garage and once they’re all taken, parking passes are no longer available.
“We noticed an influx in garage permits decreasing,” Kantner said. “It left some spots on the third floor of the town house open.” Allowing commuters and staff to buy the permits was also in an effort to relieve the parking problem on campus.
“We know for a fact that parking is the biggest problem on any college campus in the country, including Rowan university,” Kantner said. “It’s a frustrating process, but we try to make it fair on everyone.”
The cost of staying in a garage is more expensive than other parking permits due to the construction cost of the building. The Executive Parking Committee on campus held a discussion with the faculty about their concerns with parking in the garage on Feb. 5. Everyone, including faculty, residents and commuters will pay the same price for a spot.
“We can’t just let anybody park in the garages for free because you’re a student and you already paid for your permit,” Kantner said. “Is that fair for me to say to a faculty or employee that you can park there free? To me that’s hypocritical.”
When the gate was broken, event parking was held on the third floor. The gate repair doesn’t alter event parking in any way. The security guard at the front gate will give the guests a temporary card to access that floor. Public safety is still working on other ways to do this without leaving the gate up. Depending on the event and the amount of people, event parking will also be held on Ellis Street and South Jersey Tech Park parking lots and the event planner would make sure that the guests are shuttled to and from these lots.
A couple years ago, the university changed the rules on commuter parking. Since there were so many commuters, the Board of Trustees decided that the commuters can also park in residential lots. The signs in the parking lots haven’t been updated yet.
Anyone without a permit to any lot on campus, including a pass for the parking garage, will have a chance to get a ticket but the school does offer a pardon to a parking ticket if they order a permit for that area.
“We do amnesty, even for students,” Kantner said. “If you, at the beginning of the semester get a parking ticket for no permit and come into [the public safety building], order a permit and show parking that you ordered a permit, we will take that parking ticket away and change it to a warning instead.”
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