Empty parking spaces are rare in Quinnipiac University’s commuter parking lot. This unfortunate truth leads students to drive erratically, fight for spots and even stalk fellow students.
The commuter lot is located on the north side of the campus, off Mt. Carmel Avenue. At first glance it seems like an ordinary large parking lot: cars and trucks parked in spaces and also lined up along the side of the lot. It’s a well known fact to Quinnipiac students that this lot, although large, cannot hold all the students who want to park there. On any given weekday, the lot is completely full by 10:00 a.m. There is a smaller lot on the west side of nearby Hogan Road, for the overspill of cars from the North Lot, but even that lot gets full sometimes as well. This forces students to be aggressive drivers in the parking lot, and it has caused some strange situations.
Drivers who are looking for a parking space often “stalk” people to secure a spot. A driver follows a student to his or her car, and takes the spot when the student leaves. Some drivers ask all the students in the lot if they’re leaving, or actually pick the students up and drive them to their cars.
Sometimes there seem to be almost as many students cars cruising around the lot as there are cars parked in it. Students can be stubborn and many would rather drive around looking for a spot than go and park in the farther lot. Jennifer Auger, a sophomore psychology major, frequently parks her car along the sidewalk and waits for someone to leave, then she takes the space. “If you don’t stalk someone then it’s impossible to find a spot,” she said.
Jessica Axt, a sophomore media studies major, once parked on Mt. Carmel Road when the commuter lot was full, and regretted it. “I was late for my class and I had to park my car; I had no choice. My car was towed and I also got a ticket from Quinnipiac, even though it’s because of them that I parked there,” she said.
‘Near misses’ in the parking lot are common as well. It’s difficult for drivers to see around the rows, and often when they are angry about not finding a spot, they go too fast and almost hit a car coming in the other direction. “They pop out of nowhere; you have to look both ways or you’ll get hit,” said Matt McKelvey, a sophomore interactive digital design major.
Whether it’s dealing with fellow stalkers, having a near miss, or fighting for a spot; for commuters at Quinnipiac, parking in the lot is the most frustrating part of their day.