‘Parking Predators’ Create Traffic on Campus

By Jennifer Johnson

Students idle, blocking traffic, as they wait for a spot.
Students idle, blocking traffic, as they wait for a spot.

Parking troubles are on the rise as the new school year begins, and, in the eyes of WSU commuters, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Though not a new problem, the age-old tactics of parking lot predators have reappeared, meaning you’re more than likely to find some crafty students idling in parking lots as they wait for a spot to open up. The result? More chaos and traffic, often clogging travel lanes during peak hours of arrival.

Junior Spencer Duncan has experience on both sides while behind the wheel.

“Sometimes you’re just hoping to get lucky and figure if you just wait someone will appear,” said Duncan. “Other times I see how it just is dangerous, especially since you don’t know when someone is just going to move, while you’re in the process of going around them.”

Duncan and other commuters battle with this process everyday, but the big question is, is this a ticketable offence and, if so, what are WSU police doing about it?

“We’ve actually never gotten a complaint about this; obviously anybody blocking the flow of traffic needs to be told to move along,” said Mike Nockunas, Worcester State University’s Chief of Police. “They [students] should call us, so we can react to that right away. We are certainly very concerned about anybody blocking fire lanes, anybody blocking loading docks, anybody blocking passage or roadways, because we have to keep things flowing.”

Nockunas said he is empathetic during the first few weeks of school, which is considered a grace period for parking faux pas as students get back into the swing of the school year. Unfortunately, what may have worked for the first two weeks won’t fly now.

“They [students] know where they are supposed to park,” said Nockunas. “And they’ve got to use some common sense, do some planning. We have 2,000 parking spaces for 7,000 people — I’m not a mathematical genius, but you know, it definitely doesn’t add up. Traffic is a problem here.”

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