Newly added buildings on College Ave create split in parking accessibility among Rutgers students
Inconvenient parking at busy areas like on College Avenue has long been a complaint among Rutgers students. Jack Molenaar, senior director of the Department of Transportation Services, broke down the University's parking situation.
Molenaar said there is a combo ownership in place between Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for the parking deck attached to the Easton Avenue Apartments. Currently, residents of those apartments are not permitted to park in that particular deck as it is reserved for faculty and staff.
This was not always the case.
“The last school year that anyone was able to park there as a resident was 2013 to 2014,” Molenaar said.
The current restriction is due to limited parking on the College Avenue campus for faculty and staff, he said. The Sojourner Truth Apartments as well as Rutgers Hillel used to be faculty and staff parking lots.
Since those 300 parking spots were lost when the parking lots became buildings, Rutgers had to make up for the lost spots by giving the Easton Avenue parking deck to faculty and staff, Molenaar said.
He said that any student can acquire parking Downtown through the New Brunswick Parking Authority, but the cost would be $165 per month. But paying that much would be unwise when a student could just get a parking permit for a different campus for $250 per year.
Due to limited parking available to College Avenue residents, many students who have a parking pass must take the bus to other campuses to reach their cars. When they are done using it, they then have to drop their cars off and take another bus back home.
Many students, like Nicole Malzone, a School of Nursing senior, find this process frustrating. When asked about the parking situation on campus, she said it was horrible.
“The fact that you buy a, you pay $250 or $300 for a spot and you can’t drive to other campuses is kinda wild,” Malzone said. “Like if you’re really making me pay $400 for a parking pass, you should let me drive where I need to be so I don’t have to take a bus.”
Jennifer Hoffman, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said she lives on Livingston campus but still finds the parking situation inconvenient. There is parking for residents available on campus, but Hoffman said it is located all the way across from the Livingston Apartments, where she lives.
“I hate it,” Hoffman said. “I can’t even tell you how much I hate it.”
Some students do not find the parking situation on campus to be too troubling. Madison Hill, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, who lives in the Silvers Apartments on Busch campus, said she does not have a problem with parking.
She said there is a lot of parking available to residents on Busch.
“It’s not that awful for me since I live on Busch,” Hill said.
Molenaar said the inconvenience of the parking situation for College Avenue residents is preferable to paying the market rate for Downtown New Brunswick parking.
He said there are currently no plans to change the parking situation at Rutgers in the near future.
Despite the personal opinions of students regarding parking on campus, it is in the best interest of the University to keep things as they are. Molenaar said building more parking decks would put Rutgers in unnecessary debt.
“Inconvenience is a matter of perspective,” he said. “We have a lot of parking, it’s just not a lot of people want it. If you actually paid the market rate in Downtown New Brunswick, New Brunswick Parking Authority has decks — they charge $165 a month.”