Park smart, Bobcats
GC parking and transportation services has issued 1,893 tickets since Aug. 20, 2018. These tickets typically cost $30 for someone who has parked out-of-zone, has an expired permit or has not applied for a permit.
Currently there are 2,414 GC parking spaces (including employee spaces) on Central Campus. However, GC Parking and Transportation Services is looking to add to that number with two potential parking lots.
“It’s a work in progress,” said John Bowen, senior manager of Parking and Transportation Services. “We’re working on completing the purchase of some property close to main campus that the plan is to develop as parking.”
One parking lot is planned for a piece of property behind Public Safety’s Hall House. The other lot will likely be located on the corner of Montgomery and Wayne street, across from Miller Court.
“I don’t know how quickly they’ll be developed and be ready to park in and how it will change the landscape just yet,” Bowen said. “We’re just getting some estimates right now on how many spaces a lot at one of these locations would be able to hold.”
In the meantime, there are many parking resources students can use, some of which might be a little out of sight.
With 372 commuter spaces (including shared parking with guests) and 2,489 commuter permits issued for the 2018-2019 school year, commuters may find parking difficult. However, all students pay parking fees for two valuable, underutilized places: the Irwin Street lot and Centennial Center’s commuter and guest spaces.
Irwin Street is a perimeter lot, which means that it is open to all permit holders and types. This lot is four blocks from campus, and GC shuttles pick up students every eight minutes. Due to its distance, this lot is not used to maximum capacity.
“It’s a convenience factor,” said sophomore Nathan Graham, one of the SGA representatives on the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee. “Irwin Street is not convenient for people who want to go to health sciences, or any other building on campus, but they have transportation there.”
However, students who use this lot will skip the stress of finding a two-hour parking space.
“Instead of taking those extra minutes to drive around campus three times to find a parking spot for two-hour parking, mathematically, you have a guaranteed parking spot over there [at Irwin Street],” said Graham, a political science and economics double major.
Commuter students can also find more parking at Centennial Center in the 120 first-come, first-serve shared guest and commuter spaces. It also has a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. These Centennial commuter spaces are also under-utilized and are half-empty almost every day.
“That’s painful to see,” Bowen said. “We dedicated that space because we know commuters need more parking on main campus, based on the numbers.”
Milledgeville’s historic buildings and GC’s green spaces make it difficult to develop more parking lots. However, these aspects are what distinguish GC from other college campuses.
“People come here, and they love our main campus square and the surrounding neighborhoods with some of the old antebellum homes,” Bowen said. “We are just squeezed in between all of that with not a lot of space to grow and build parking lots.”
Both Parking and Transportation Services and the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee try to allocate this limited space between residents, employees and commuters as best as they can. The PTAC meets three times a semester and is represented by half faculty and half students.
“All the different constituencies are represented,” said Donna Bennett, the associate director of collection and resource services and the university senate representative on the PTAC. “We talk about what we’ve heard from our constituents, and we see if any changes are needed or if we need to make any recommendations.”
Until the two new lots are completed, students should consider GC’s other parking opportunities. Bowen and Graham suggest students try the Irwin Street lot and Centennial Center parking spaces for a week and see if it alleviates parking frustrations.
Additionally, as the spring weather approaches, a nice walk from these lots may improve student’s moods.
“I would look at it as more of an opportunity to exercise, see the neighborhood and experience a nice day,” Bennett said. “Listen to the birds, smell the flowers. Relax a little bit between this thing and the next thing.”