City, College work to solve parking issue

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September 15, 2009

2:48 AM

An unlikely party is alleviating the problematic parking situation at the College of William and Mary. The City of Williamsburg is creating thirty additional spots in the Prince George Parking Garage at 230 North Henry St. for student use, bringing the total number of available spaces to 60.

The garage, operated by the city, originally designated only 30 spots for students. Student Assembly Sen. Jill Olszewski ’12 said the motivation for the new parking spaces began with a conversation at a town-gown function.

“At the event where the Student Assembly met with [Williamsburg] Mayor [Jeanne] Zeidler and other members of the city council and city officials, I was talking with [City Chief of Police] Mike Yost, and mentioned that we had parking problems on campus,” Olszewski said.

Olszewski said she noticed that the parking garage was rarely filled to capacity and wanted to know if there was any way to accommodate more students.

“I wanted to know if there was any way we could get extra spots for students,” Olszewski said. “He made some calls, and the next day he said ‘we can get [you] 30 more spots.’”

Parking in the garage comes with a list of rules and regulations set by the city. Olszewski listed the guidelines in an e-mail sent to students who had inquired about parking.

“In paying to park in the garage, you are given a permit for the garage, a key card used to enter and exit the garage and guaranteed parking 24 [hours a day],” Olszewski said. “You are also allowed to leave your car in the garage during the various breaks throughout the year. You can park your car on any level, but if you intend to leave your car in the garage overnight, you must be on the third level. Unfortunately, if you have a student pass for on campus parking, it is not transferable to the Williamsburg Parking Garage.”
Spaces in the garage can be bought on a semester or yearly basis, although the price can vary.

“The Semester Pass for College Students costs $250 per Semester ($50 per Month),” Garage Supervisor Ronald Roob said in an e-mail. “The total owed is lowered as the Semester progresses.”

Because the garage is operated by the city and not the College, students must purchase the parking pass through city offices.

“[Students] can go to the parking garage and pay by check or go to the municipal building and pay by credit card, [then] pick up the key card at the garage,” Olszewski said

The Prince George Parking Garage presents a new option for student drivers previously limited to parking in the few select areas on campus.

“It’s a great opportunity for undergraduates and graduate students, and I hope students take advantage of it,” Olszewski said.

Recent disagreements over issues like the three-person rule and the city’s new noise ordinance have put members of the College and city communities at odds.

The collaboration between the SA and city officials to remedy the College’s parking situation could help mend town-gown relations, which have been contentious recently.

“I think that … it shows how much the city wants to branch out and help students,” Olszewski said. “The city is willing to help if it’s something they can do.”

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