I've attended West Chester University for 4 years. Those I talk to know that it's been arguably the best 4 years of my life. Academics, friends, parties, you name it. Not included in my blessings? West Chester University's abysmal parking situation.
In my 4 years spent here, zero noticeable improvements have been made for student parking. Zero. This includes commuters, as well as off-campus students. On the contrary, actually. In recent memory, the University had the liberty to remove a major parking lot (Lawrence) located by the affiliated dorms and dining centers on campus, so that students could no longer park there after hours. "After hours" translates to after 4 p.m. After this time, in a standard school day, many University faculty, including professors and administrators, have gone home for the day. There is no need to ban student parking from this highly beneficial and convenient area for the rest of the night. I'm not sure what caused this change of heart, but given the limited number of options, as is, it's unacceptable. Surprising to nobody, the University elects to be difficult. This is one of the several ridiculous and unprecedented regulations that the University has in place. You would assume that, since downtown West Chester is a hustling, bustling, clusterfest of vehicles galore, the University would be slightly more accommodating. You assumed wrong.
I commuted for my freshman year. It was a year of sheer horror. I had been proactive and gotten a year-long commuter parking pass weeks prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. I was young, naive, and optimistic that I would have no issues in arriving at school. It took me about the first five minutes of pulling into the parking lot to realize that I would be in a dogfight for a single spot the rest of the year. I hadn't known this yet, but it was common to literally spy, wait, and hunt people down to replace their spots in the lot. Students who had just finished class and were heading home for the day, on sight, were a grand prize. Competing students rolled down their windows and shouted to the student leaving, if they were leaving. They were the comparison of a big, fat piece of meat being dangled in front of the family Rottweiler. That's how much getting a spot meant to a commuter in 2015. Let's also mention how, during this time, there were 200+ commuters with legitimate passes and only approximately 100 spots available, in this specific lot, throughout the day. Do the math. It doesn't add up.
Fast forward to now, nothing has changed. After 4 p.m., another major parking lot for students, Sykes, is a wild frenzy. Since the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester, Public Safety is now strictly policing it. Before, in the most extreme of situations, students were allowed to single park outside of the white lines, as long as they weren't blocking vehicles from moving throughout the rows. ("Extreme situations" refers to the fact that there are never enough spots for the number of students that need spaces for classes and events. Nothing new.) This is sensible, as it doesn't bother the ebb-and-flow of parking and allows the student to get to their obligation on time. Now, students will be instantly ticketed for doing so just to attend a class that lasts an hour and fifteen minutes long. God forbid Public Safety and the University don't squeeze out an extra $20 for students that pay $10,000 yearly to attend school a pop. God forbid they don't tow them, either. True story: I know of a student, a friend, who sometimes elects to miss their entire day of classes due to not finding a parking spot. And they paid for a pass before the semester even started. Heartbreaking. If securing a simple parking spot costs students academically, as well as causes more stress and anxiety on top of everything else in college life, something needs to be fixed and done so ASAP.
Plain and simple, West Chester University's parking has been absolutely dreadful for years. It will continue to be, until the University provides room in the budget for more lots and spots. The University just built a brand-spanking-new business building--how much did that cost? I'm sure student parking shouldn't be too hard to move up on the priority list.