Student union carpool initiative could solve problem
Parking Passes at St. Thomas University are $75 a student, but that doesn’t guarantee you a convenient parking spot. A lack of parking spaces and an excess of cars results in regular illegal parking around campus.
Ian Leblanc is a student who drives to school.
“One day I was walking to my car that was parked in the Holy Cross House Lot,” he said. “I was only going to grab something out of the car. While walking through the parking lot, a car followed me to where my car was. They had their blinker on for my spot before I even opened the door. It’s so competitive to get a parking spot, I started coming to school 20 minutes earlier to avoid the rush.”
This chaotic competition for parking spaces is a daily occurrence, often ending up with cars backed up onto Dineen Drive from the Vanier parking lot, or idling in the entrance to the lot waiting for a spot to open up.
The numbers for STU’s parking situation tell the story.
With 873 sold this year, there are more parking passes than available parking spots.
According to the university’s facility management, 265 general parking and faculty spaces combined are available on the STU Campus.
In the Aitken Centre/Wu Conference Centre parking lot there are 445 spaces available, but it’s a shared parking lot with UNB and The Wu Centre.
Another 150 are available at the Student Union Building, but this also is shared with UNB passes.
In total, there are 860 spots including UNB and Wu Centre parking available to STU students. Fines run between $10 and $20 each, but could cost a lot more if towed.
Cars will be towed from St. Thomas property if the parked car impedes the free-flow of traffic, construction, crosswalks, snow removal, for repeated offences, and other obvious obstructions. The car will not be released from the towing company until the accumulated fines are paid in full.
The student unions at UNB and St. Thomas are starting a car-pooling initiative, which will help with the parking congestion as well as other issues.
This will be an online service that would match students, faculty and staff from STU and UNB with each other to facilitate carpooling.
The system would be specific to Fredericton, and it would match up people whose routes overlap.
Ella Henry, Vice President of Education at the St. Thomas students union, is taking the lead on this operation.
“Currently it’s a partnership between the STUSU and the UNBSU, however, we’re looking to get faculty associations and the universities involved as well, before it is launched” she said. “This has the potential to benefit the wider university community. I hope the initiative will be up and running near the beginning of next semester.”
Henry hopes that the initiative will encourage students to car pool.
“I think it also has the potential to help provide an affordable alternative for students when buses and safe wheels aren’t running.”
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