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Students driven up the wall

by Archives September 14, 2005

Most students driving to the Loyola campus will have to find alternate means of parking this semester after the university’s parking services sold out of permits in four minutes.

Any Concordia student or staff member seeking a four-month parking pass was asked to log onto the university’s website at 9 a.m. on Sept. 6. At 9:07 a.m., the site began accepting payments for parking permits. By 9:11 a.m., all Loyola campus parking passes were sold.

“We have a high demand [for parking] and we have to make it fair for everybody,” said Therese Wright, the interim manager at the university’s parking services.

Wright said that in order to ensure each student receives an equal chance, parking permits were sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Given that permits only cost $65, many students flocked to their computers at the deadline to land a spot.

“The university only has 659 spaces in total and it’s not enough to support the Concordia community,” she said.

According to Wright, the Loyola campus was able to provide 200 permanent parking spaces last year. However, with the construction of the new communications and journalism building, parking services were forced to cut 75 spaces. Now the Jesuit, which once served as a lot for those with semester-long permits, caters only to those who pay for the $4 day passes.

Prita Chhabra, a second-year psychology student, said this wasn’t the first time she saw students scrambling for a place to park.

“I didn’t bother trying to get a space this year because it’s nearly impossible,” she said.

Last semester, Chhabra spent up to $16 a week for university parking because she wasn’t able to get a permanent space. This year, she decided to try to find public parking around campus, but has already been slapped with a $37 parking ticket.

“The hardest time to find parking is at 6 p.m. but I will only buy the $4 pass as a last resort,” she said.

Charles Leclare is also feeling the parking space woes. After paying $7 for parking downtown, the Laval native had to pay an additional $4 to attend his evening class at Loyola.

“There isn’t enough parking downtown and in the morning I have no other way to get to my class on time,” said the fourth-year political science major.

Wright feels for Concordia’s student body but said the university provides its students and staff with the lowest fares for post-secondary school parking on the island.

“You go to McGill, and you’re paying $370 a semester for a permanent space and $14 for a one-day pass. At Vanier, thier students pay up to $250 each semester.” In Wright’s view, any hopes of constructing a new facility for more student parking spaces seem futile.

With a constant focus on sustainability, allego Concordia is developing an agenda to find alternate ways to get from one campus to the other. Some issues include transportation information stations, carpooling programs and a guaranteed ride home program. Furthermore, student commuters won’t receive any sympathy from the city of Montreal, which is continually encouraging people to use public transportation.

First-year exercise science student Matthew Kudo agrees with Concordia’s pledge to develop a sustainable university atmosphere. The Montreal West native has biked to Loyola since classes opened last week and will continue to do so until it gets too cold.

“In the winter I’ll walk or take the bus,” Kudo said. “Commuting to school in a car isn’t really an issue for me.”

For now, students who do drive to school will have to choose between finding public parking or paying Concordia’s one-day fee. On Sept. 22, all students will be encouraged to leave their cars at home for International Car Free Day. Since 2000, the World Carefree Network has held this annual event. This year, the city of Montreal will join 1,300 cities in 40 countries in celebration.

For more information on International Car Free Day, visit http://www.carfreeday.ca. For more information on allego Concordia, visit http://allego.concordia.ca.

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