During the previous few school years, there has been one particular topic that has both confused students, and frustrated a few – parking.
At the beginning of each year, new permits are handed out and the campus parking map is displayed through an email to all students. That has been a constant exercise done by the college for a long time.
But what hasn’t been consistent is the map itself.
Due to different construction around campus, most notably the new health science building parking lots have been taken away, and new ones created.
For the 2023-24 school year parking zones that signify who can park where (faculty, on-campus residents, commuters, etc.) were changed once again – creating confusion and discontent. Police Chief Joseph P. Tiraboschi knows it will never be perfect but offered some insight into what went on:
“Facilities, academics and public safety, we kind of all worked together on finding a plan of how we can accommodate everyone,” he said. “That we make sure there’s parking for everyone, but also make sure it’s like it strategically in the right locations.”
While working around the new Health Science building, the college has created roughly 300 new spots, according to Tiraboschi – which moved some designated spots around. It also opened up other parking lots, specifically Lot 1 (behind Weiser Hall), to be used as visitor parking.
Tiraboschi recognizes that this sudden change could result in early indecisions.
“I understand the frustrations and I understand there’s gonna be some confusion,” he said. “The goal for public safety moving forward is to be accommodating when it comes to understanding there’s gonna be confusion. There’s gonna be people parking in the wrong spots.”
Along with the early uncertainty, the campus police department has started to give out warnings to students parked in the wrong lot and starting next week tickets will begin being issued.
But, according to Tiraboschi, this isn’t punishment, rather a reminder.
“We’ve handed out 800 plus warnings with little flyers in the car with a barcode with a college map so they can show you,” he said. “[We want it to be] a teachable thing.”
Some concerns have been raised over the safety of walking at night due to some parking spots being far away. Tiraboschi knows that, but also recognizes that there are resources to help students feel as safe as possible on campus – including the RAVE Guardian app which is connected to the Springfield College Police Department.
“The app is great,” he said. “You can use it on your mobile phone and put on a personal safety timer. If you don’t hit it, It will GPS coordinate where exactly you are on campus and if you want to escort CSOs, our campus safety officers can walk you. If we have officers available, We will transport you and then we respond within 40 seconds to a minute to those calls that are emergencies. And the app is free.”
He also noted that there are 29 blue phones around campus that can be used if you feel unsafe walking at night.
Overall though, Tiraboschi and his department would love to see the parking changes come to a halt.
“Moving forward, I would like to see this be consistent for the college and so we can make my life easier too. So I know where people are supposed to be parking, you all know where you’re supposed to be parking, and we can make sure it’d be enforced fairly.”
Photo Courtesy of Springfield College