A lack of parking at Williams this year left more than 50 upperclassmen scrambling for nonexistent parking spaces. According to David Boyer, assistant director of Security, students should not plan on more parking spaces any time soon. “There’s going to be a change in the type and the location of the parking, but not the number of available spots,” he said. In fact, upperclassmen could see the smaller satellite parking lots disappear altogether, gradually replaced by a main Mission Park parking area.
Boyer added that it is sometimes difficult to give students parking spaces close to their dorms. He cited the walk from Agard to Mission parking as the most extreme instance of this inconvenience, though Security tries to locate the spaces as close to the students’ dorms as possible.
For those who do have to walk, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a hassle. Brian Katz ’03 says his walk from Currier to Poker Flats parking “honestly isn’t that big of a deal. It would be good if everyone had ‘bad’ parking.”
More recent changes in parking include the purchase of a house on Park Street next to Mears House, requiring 43 new faculty and staff parking spaces, which were taken from student parking in Greylock. Poker Flats was expanded and connected to Thompson lot to make up for the lost student spaces in Greylock.
“There is no clear-cut solution to this problem,” Boyer said, referring to the waiting list for parking spaces. He said that the demand for parking spaces has grown at the College in recent years. “We used to be maxed out after spring break, but now we’re having the space problem in September,” hesaid. Boyer believes the increase in parking demand stems from America’s recent economic prosperity. More students have cars in high school and expect to bring them to college as well.
A more immediate change in parking plans comes with the planned construction of a new performing arts center that will be joined with the Adams Memorial Theater. The new building will have a parking garage with a number of spaces reserved for faculty, staff, and performance visitors. According to Boyer, these spaces will be empty most of the time, and could be used as student parking, except during performances. “How we can maximize the use of lots is a situation we need to look at long and hard,” Boyer said.
According to Security, there are 639 student parking spaces on campus. But parking is not just a problem for Williams students. With over 1,000 faculty and staff members at the College and only 753 faculty and staff parking spaces, those who work and teach at Williams also find it difficult to park on campus.
“This is frustrating for me,” Boyer said, “because it’s a situation we can’t fix – we just have to manage.”