Quinnipiac utilizes camera in Hogan Lot to study parking behavior

Cat Murphy, Contributing Writer

Amid mounting frustration with on-campus parking, Quinnipiac University installed a camera in Hogan Lot March 29, to monitor student parking.

“With parking such a focus of the university community’s needs at this time, we were looking to determine how best we are all utilizing our current parking spaces and lots and how might data play a role in informing all of the campus constituencies,” One Stop and Registrar Assistant Vice President Joshua Berry wrote in a statement to The Chronicle.

The camera in Hogan Lot that monitors and analyzes parking will be in use for 30 days as part of a pilot program. (Daniel Passapera)

The university partnered with local vendor Municipal Parking Services to conduct the pilot program as part of a coordinated effort with One Stop, the Facilities Department and the Department of Public Safety, Berry said.

Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett announced the pilot program in an email to students on March 24. He said a graduate student class in the School of Business will be working alongside the university to analyze the data collected by MPS to devise more effective policy-making strategies.

“The camera will capture the total number of vehicles that enter and exit the lot, the timing of the entry and egress of the vehicles, and how many of those parking there have the appropriate decal,” Berry said. “We hope to capture data that identifies parking trends, space utilization, and whether our current enforcement and decaling practices are helping to direct parkers to the proper parking areas.”

The university’s new initiative includes a 30-day plan to collect data from the camera in Hogan Lot. Berry said the month-long, single-lot pilot has the potential for development if its data prove to be informative.

“Depending on the findings of the research, it is possible that we would expand to other parking locations,” Berry said.

The pilot “has no connection to the commuter parking fee” and its findings would result in “no changes” to the fee, Berry said. He said the data collected by the camera will be a primary consideration in future parking policy. In particular, he expressed the university’s desire to consider the findings of the pilot program in conjunction with those of other university initiatives focused on student parking.

“With the gathering of this data, the formation of the parking advisory group, as well as the findings of the MBA consulting course tasked with providing student-driven decisions, we hope that we can devise an equitable parking approach that supports our commuter students and all of the community,” Berry said.

Illustration by Cat Murphy

However, some Quinnipiac students have expressed displeasure with the university’s new initiative.

“This is not an appropriate response to the outrage of the parking issue,” said Kelsey Darcy, a junior public relations major. “This is a Band-Aid fix and doesn’t by any means get to the root of the issue.”

Darcy, a commuter, said she appreciates the timing of the efforts to monitor the on-campus lots amid rising crime rates in Hamden but was critical of the university’s approach.

“That money should be used for more parking,” Darcy said. “I think this is a fancy way to say that they will probably just go even harder with ticketing and towing.”

Another commuter, Daniella Villon, a first-year health science studies major, expressed a similar sentiment.

“Cameras would be great (alongside more) parking spots and an actual form of security,” Villon said. “I don’t think cameras should be the main concern right now.”

Villon, like Darcy, commended the initiative but expressed frustration with the university’s execution.

“I’m sure (Quinnipiac) has good intentions,” Villon said. “It’s just frustrating when people have been complaining about parking and security, and the response is ‘cameras.’”