PC Parking Problem: Campus Security Must Prioritize Parking Spots for Students

by The Cowl Editor on February 7, 2019


Photo of parking lot outside Suites Hall.
Parking lots such as the one located behind Suites Hall is reserved for upperclassmen who purchased parking spaces. Photo courtesy of Steve Sydlowski/The Providence Journal

The debate surrounding whether or not students should have their cars on college campuses is omnipresent. 

There is an evident divide in the amount of schools that do allow cars on campus and the schools that do not: in the 2016-17 academic year, 46.8 percent of students brought their cars to campus. At Providence College, freshmen and sophomores are not allowed to have their cars on campus. 

The parking spots at PC are only for the staff as well as upperclassmen students; however, PC must create more parking spaces to allow underclassmen to have the option to bring their cars to campus. 

As of now, the issue is that there is a severe lack of parking spaces, even for the juniors and seniors.

“There are only about 400 spaces available for any student parking,” said Koren Kanadanian, chief of the office of public safety. “Each year over 1,500 juniors and seniors apply for parking so it has never opened up to freshmen or sophomores.”

For underclassmen at PC, Uber is their main source of transportation. They take an Uber to get food off campus, to pick up prescription medication at Walgreen’s, or even to have a huge shopping spree at the Providence Place Mall.

Although using Uber is convenient, it is an extremely expensive option for getting places, especially on a college student’s budget.

In fact, to Uber to Walgreen’s, which is only 0.4 miles away, it normally costs around $6. Not to mention, the Uber ride back to campus is another $6, making it over $10 round-trip—a ridiculous amount of money for such a short car ride.

Another option is the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). However, the buses are not always on time, and sometimes do not arrive at all.

Some may argue that if underclassmen have their cars on campus, they will be inclined to go home more frequently. Thus, they will have a harder time adapting to the college life.

However, this issue is only relevant for students who live in close proximity to campus.

Further, most students do not have the desire to use their cars to get back home, but rather want to use their cars to get food off campus, shop, or explore the areas surrounding campus.

In fact, having a car on campus would actually facilitate the adjustment process to college as students would be able to easily travel to popular spots around campus and explore new places. 

“One of my favorite things about going to school here is being near Providence and trying out the food, coffee, and shopping options in the city,” Maddie Guth ’22 said. “The only thing that makes it hard is finding a way to get into the city without spending a lot of money on transportation.”

Having a car on campus is convenient for students who live far away from campus so that they do not have to rely on methods of transportation, such as trains or buses, to get home.

Additionally, parents often have to drive a few hours to pick up their college student only to turn around and make the drive again.

“It would be more convenient for me to have a car on campus when it comes to going home for breaks,” Aidan Schifano ’22 said. “I live over two hours away from Providence, so it is hard for my parents to drive to pick me up and scheduling trains is so difficult and a hassle.”

Currently, PC does not even have enough parking spots for all of the juniors and seniors.

“I will be hiring a transportation and parking manager soon who will work with the college to address the current parking situation and look to the future to recommend transportation and parking programs to assist all students with transportation and parking needs,” said Kanadanian.

The school must work to find space for more parking spots, or accommodate transportation needs, to allow underclassmen to have easier transportation access while on campus.