Parking. In a major city it certainly has a different connotation than almost anywhere else.
That perfectly-located spot down the street is like a mirage off in the distance, but the aggressive driver still guns the engine to reach it before anyone can claim it as their own. The driver speeds to that empty space next to the curb, preparing to perform a perfect back-up parallel-parking maneuver only to spot a fire hydrant. Foiled again! It is like a game show in which only the strong can survive. The weak, of course, will simply pay the price and park in a garage.
At GW there is just not enough street parking to accommodate everyone with a car, especially given the construction projects in the area that block traffic and eat up spaces. People, especially full-time students with cars, are forced to park in a University garage, seek out a better rate at another garage in the area or find some kind soul who is willing to put up with another vehicle in his or her driveway.
Parking spaces on campus, both on the street and in the garages, are at a premium, so it might seem a bit surprising that the number of full-time students bringing cars to school and parking them in University garages is increasing. But that is exactly what is happening, according to Shelia Thornton Buckley, assistant manager of administration in the parking services department.
The number of students has increased, but we have not finished registration yet so we don’t have an exact number, Buckley said.
But Buckley said she is not surprised by the trend toward more packed University parking garages considering GW’s prices.
More than likely (full-time students) are parking here because we have done a survey of area lots and our rates are lower, Buckley said. Also, we offer overnight which none of the other garages in the area do, or (the students) are probably paying more.
Parking Services will not know the precise number of students parking their cars in campus garages at least until December, Buckley said. Declining to speculate on the number, Buckley said parking services is still madly giving out parking stickers.
Sophomore Ken McVeigh parks his car in the garage at the Hall on Virginia Avenue. Even though he does not necessarily need his car at college, McVeigh said he likes the convenience of having it accessible.
McVeigh said he did some investigative work and researched other garages in the area before settling on GW parking services.
I went to the University, Ticketmaster and the garages, but HOVA is the cheapest, McVeigh said. All the other places are $189 or more.
McVeigh is still looking for another alternative despite the HOVA’s cheap rates.
Some students said they feel lucky enough have parking spaces at all. Junior Stephanie Somogyi, who lives at the Jefferson House on 24th Street, said she is happy because her apartment comes with two parking spaces. Somogyi said she would not park on the street if she did not have the spaces included with her rent.
I see on the street in front of my apartment that people cannot park for their lives and trying to park they hit both cars on each end every single time, Somogyi said.
She also said that she would not park her car in a University lot.
I had my car down here for a month last year and I would never pay that much again, Somogyi said.
The additional number of students parking cars in GW facilities is not the only change in Parking Services this year. Parking Services offers a new program for semester-long parking, Buckley said. In the past students either had to sign up for a full year, or pay a monthly rate. Due to student interest, though, Parking Services came up with the semester plan.
We’ve had a really good turnout, Buckley said. (Students) don’t have to come back on a monthly basis to reapply.
The new program not only offers added convenience, but it also gives students a discount from the month-to-month plan.