by Meadow Sandy, staff writer
SEPTEMBER 2022 — In addition to pending changes regarding parking passes, student drivers are expected to park in a different lot this school year.
Juniors and seniors at Bio-Med received an email from Bio-Med administrators regarding parking passes Sept. 1. This email served as a reminder to purchase a parking pass, as only 11 students have bought one thus far.
“NEOMED [the Northeast Ohio Medical University] will soon be issuing tickets for vehicles without permits,” the email read
Lieutenant Shawn Parker, an officer for NEOMED’s campus police stated, “Currently, Bio-Med students are to park in LOT A which is on the south side of campus. ” He later stated, “This is the planned permanent parking area for Bio-Med. If we find better parking alternatives, this may change.”
Parents and students were alerted to this change during the beginning of school through a school newsletter.
Parker continued, “NEOMED Police and Bio-Med administration continue to work together to make your school arrival and dismissal safe and efficient. As we note problems, we work to find good solutions.”
Zach Totaro, a Bio-Med junior, said, “I have mixed feelings about the parking situation as a whole. Last year, the parking lot was a mess. There were people walking and driving in every direction and, to be honest, it seemed like a safety issue as well as being very inconvenient. It is much calmer this year so far with parents picking up in a different parking lot. I think splitting it up like that was a good idea,” said Totaro.“The longest I’ve ever had to wait to get out of the parking lot [Last year] was probably about 10 minutes. It wasn’t a problem for me last school year, but now that I have work after school, it would be a huge issue if wait times were still like that. Thankfully, this school year, I hardly have to wait at all, maybe a couple of minutes at most.”
Totaro later commented that he thinks this is because of the new change in lots.
As Bio-Med currently has access to one parking lot for student drivers, many are concerned that it’ll get more crowded when sophomores get their licenses throughout the course of the year and begin driving to school.
Gianna Walker, a junior, expressed her concerns, stating, “I think it’s gonna get really cramped. And there’s not going to be a lot of room to get out. It is kind of cramped now… but I think it’ll probably get worse, and the wait might take a little bit longer, even with just 25 [more] people driving.”
Morgan Whiteman, another junior, agreed with Walker.
“Although this does not affect me on a daily basis, I know multiple people who just wait in their cars for half an hour before even attempting to leave,” Whiteman said. “I’ve heard both parents and students alike complaining about how many people are in such a hurry to get out that they speed through the parking lot. This is an obvious safety hazard to both students walking and drivers. However, so far, the split parking lot seems to be more efficient.”
Parker addressed these concerns, saying, “There is plenty of space for the new drivers as they get their licenses. Currently, there’s over 70 open spaces. We do not see much of an increase during the school year for new Bio-Med drivers, as many still get dropped off by parents or take the bus. If parking space does become an issue, we will re-evaluate and look at our options.”
Students are also required to have a parking pass to park on NEOMED’s campus.
Parker explained the reasoning behind this, stating, “Since Bio-Med parks in a restricted lot, we need to make sure that the cars parked there belong in that lot.”
He later continued, “It is very important that we are able to identify and locate vehicle operators when needed.”
NEOMED Police Officers monitor traffic and parking for violations.
“Punitive enforcement is not our goal, but we do use citations if voluntary compliance is not working. Citations are $25 but raise to $50 if not paid within 30 days,” Parker explained.
Parking enforcement is not the main concern of NEOMED’s police department, but it is something that is enforced regularly. Bio-Med students have been cited before, and it is their responsibility to obtain a parking pass. If a student fails to get a pass, this could result in university fines, state citation fines, or possible towing.
Students are currently required to have a parking pass to be able to drive to school and park in our parking lot. Those who need a parking pass should contact Maggie Huffman, who is located at the councilors corner desk. Huffman will help arrange payments and email the student a form that will capture a contract and have vehicle information for the student. Once everything has been submitted, a pass will be issued to the student and dropped off to the administration for distribution.
Walker shared her thoughts regarding the price.
“I think it’s a little bit expensive, and maybe not accessible for all families. Not a lot of families can afford the $156 dollars to get a parking pass, and some people don’t have access to a bus,” she said.
Parking pass prices were set by NEOMED and are applied to NEOMED and Bio-Med’s students and employees. The funds from the passes are used for the upkeep of campus roadways as well as parking lot maintenance and repairs.