University gives preference to fans over students

Matt Eisenberg

It’s nice being able to live in a single room, have air conditioning and a meal plan and merely walk to TD Bank Sports Center for basketball and hockey games as an Eastview resident. The hassle students encounter regarding parking, though, is not one of them.

Students who park their cars in Eastview lot are required to move their cars into the parking garage for most games at the arena. It’s a simple rule, yes, but it’s a misguided one.

Senior parking is a privilege, and by saying students need to move their cars away from that privilege so fans from across the county — and region — can park there for games is a mistaken approach. By doing this, the university shows preferential treatment to fans who can bring in revenue to the university more so than the students who already pay thousands of dollars to live on campus, an initiative the university wants to lead to avoid more troubles with Hamden.

Students receive emails from the Departments of Residential Life and Public Safety to notify them about big hockey and basketball games, telling them to move their cars from the lot into the garage or else they “WILL BE TICKETED AND TOWED.” (Caps lock is apparently necessary).

For the women’s Frozen Four last weekend, students were required to park in the garage all week long, even though the games took place Friday and Sunday. Public Safety set up yellow caution tape and barricades to prevent people from parking in Eastview lot. Students were also prohibited from parking near Westview and near Crescent throughout the week. The reasoning behind this is it “will assist [the university] in facilitating parking for the Women’s Frozen Four,” Chief of Public Safety Dave Barger said in an email to York Hill residents.

It’s understandable when there are snowstorms on the horizon to force students to move their cars into the garage. It protects the students’ vehicles and allows the Facilities Department to plow the lots to the best of its ability.

However, it isn’t as logical for games. The arena is usually so overcrowded for big hockey and basketball games that people are relegated to park in the garage anyway. Parking spots aren’t created by making people move their cars. No matter what, there are the same number of parking spots. One area is just a further walk.

The rule has been in place for years. As stated in a December of 2011 Chronicle article, “Barger said that security does not like to open the parking garage gates to the public, because that disables them from being able to monitor who is coming in and out of the garage.”

Typically, the gates for entering and leaving the garage are down, and the only way to activate them is with the tap of a QCard. For game days, the gates stay up and officers regulate traffic coming up York Hill and by the traffic circle.

No, there aren’t any more games at TD Bank Sports Center for the rest of the year, but it’s certainly a topic to revisit for the future. (When I’m long gone, of course.) Forcing students to move their cars doesn’t necessarily appease the fans, and it certainly doesn’t make students any happier. Students, after all, utilize the spots more than the typical fan and have more of a reason to park closer to their residence halls instead of walking all the way from Westview to the garage. Rather than focusing primarily on the needs of visiting fans, the needs and inconveniences faced by students should be the first thing taken into consideration instead.