A sight Patrick Corcoran is all too familiar with.                                   Image from Samantha Bucher

My very first experience at King’s College involved blankly staring at two completely filled parking lots. In August of 2015, I got into my car as a bright-eyed freshman, naive in thinking that I could actually show up at 10:45 for my 11 o’clock class. Upon arriving on campus and being unable to secure a spot in either the North or North Washington Street lots, (and being unaware of any other options) I resigned to parking at a meter. Naturally, I couldn’t find a single quarter in my mess of a car, and was forced to roll the dice, hoping to get back before anyone noticed. (At this time, I’d like to thank the officer who gave me not one, but two tickets within the span of 30 minutes while I was in class. Your thoroughness is invaluable.)

So now, it’s fall of 2017, and what has changed since? Speaking honestly, not a whole lot. I haven’t been ticketed since, but I don’t leave my house without an arsenal of quarters jangling around in my pockets. The first week of this semester in particular was something akin to vehicular Hunger Games.

To my understanding, the freshman population at King’s has increased quite a bit this year, and there’s no better indication of this overpopulation than in the parking lots. Clearly having learned nothing, I arrived 15 minutes before my first class on Monday and scoured the lots before taking refuge at a meter. I fed the little glutton some George Washingtons and trudged past Valley Seafood on the way to class, muttering something about $255 interspersed with various obscenities. The stench of fish filled my nostrils as I made my way through picturesque Meyer’s Court and wondered what my red hang tag was good for.

After plopping down in my seat for Philosophy & Pop Culture, I received an e-mail titled “COMMUTER STUDENTS COMMUTER STUDENTS”. I thought to myself “HEY, I’M ONE OF THOSE,” in my equally loud inner voice, and I opened the message. The e-mail acknowledged the rat race of a parking situation and assured us that officers would direct us to additional lots, and to definitely not park at a meter. Timing is clearly not my forte.

As for the security officers, they might have been there, but I personally hadn’t noticed any. This trend continued for the remainder of the first week. I don’t know if I was showing up at a bad time or if I’m just blind, but I didn’t see anyone posted at the gates until Friday. Admittedly, I could’ve shown up earlier or checked out the lot at King’s on the Square, but I am a lazy man. I like sleeping in, and I’d rather waste a couple of quarters than take a longer walk. So for a few days, I got into my new routine of emptying my pockets, angrily smelling seafood, and cursing as I walked to class.

To their credit, I did start noticing security officers at the North and North Washington Street lots the second week of classes, and they’ve been incredibly nice and helpful. On a few occasions, they’ve either let me know if a lot was full or directed me to available parking spots.

One morning, I was given a tip from an officer about some guys in a Jeep preparing to leave. I creepily sat in the middle of the lot and waited for their departure before swooping in and capturing the only parking spot left in the North Street lot.

The parking situation does seem to be improving as time goes on, and I commend Campus Safety & Security for trying to iron out the issues as we move forward into the semester. It’s not perfect, nor will it ever be, but my $255 parking pass is being put to use. Hopefully the chaos that ensued in these early weeks will result in a more prepared and organized parking plan for the next academic year.