The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 88.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Parking Remains Thorny Issue for Students

By Gabriel J. Riopel

Parking permits will be issued to students on Oct. 1, but parking remains inconvenient and insecure according to many students.

Parking is not very accessible for undergraduate students, according to Paul Church, supervisor of the parking and traffic division of the Campus Police. "Undergraduates are encouraged not to bring cars to MIT. If every undergraduate had a car, we would have a big problem," he said.

Most of the spaces in student parking lots are allotted to graduate students. According to a parking brochure produced by the Campus Police, the Hayward Garage, Westgate Lot, and 243-275 Vassar St., where reconstruction will be completed by Oct. 1, are the parking facilities available for graduate students.

Also, graduate residences provide one permit per apartment, according to Judith M. Brennan of the Graduate Student Housing Office. Unused spaces are not made available for undergraduates.

However, various parking options at MIT facilities exist for undergraduates. According to Church, a limited number of parking permits are available for commuting undergraduates who do not live in "local" zip codes.

Off-campus independent living groups receive a limited number of parking passes. Each living group can distribute and use the passes at its own discretion, in what Church called a "car pool situation."

Undergraduates living on campus can apply for a limited number of permits available to each dormitory through each individual house.

Many undergraduates have opted for parking on Memorial Drive and Amherst Street, which are closer to many dormitories than the parking lots.

However, car theft is an increasing concern to students who choose this option. Jung S. Yu '94, a Burton House resident, had his Toyota Camry towed away by professional car thieves while it was parked on Memorial Drive this summer.

Yu had moved his car closer to his dormitory from the Vassar Street lot to Memorial Drive, because of concerns about vandalism. "The Vassar Street lot is in a secluded area. I knew I would have a guaranteed spot, but thieves could have all day to steal it," Yu said. "On Memorial Drive I could see it outside my window, and others could walk by it."

Other students have resorted to leaving their cars at friends' houses for security. Amy J. Varney '96 parks her car 10 miles away at a friend's house. According to Varney, she takes the MBTA subway and then a bus to access her car. "It's safer and it's the only place I can park without having to move the car," she said.

Personal safety, crime, and theft concern students even at MIT parking facilities. A few of the parking facilities at MIT are manned by parking attendants only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Campus Police make rounds that cover all or most facilities.

However, in the first six months of this year there were 16 car theft attempts and 16 cases of larceny from motor vehicles, according to the Campus Police mid-year crime report. Cases of vandalism, breaking and entering without theft, and other incidents were also reported.

The Campus Police and other administrators are working to improve parking policies. According to Church, automatic gates which can be opened by card keys are being installed.