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Parking predicament: Department of Transportation facing changes

Parking enforcement rules at visitor lots may see a change next semester. The UNH Transportation Policy Committee will take a vote this week as to whether or not the proposal will go forward.

The visitor lot at the Visitor’s Center, the Edgewood Lot at the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC), the Mill Road Visitor Lot in back of the Memorial Union Building and the Thompson Hall lot would all be affected by the new changes to the enforcement procedures, according to Dirk Timmons, director of transportation at UNH.

As of now, students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members can park for free in these lots after 6 p.m. and on the weekends. The proposed changes would push the time to 9 p.m. on the weekdays and the same (7 a.m – 9 p.m.) during Saturday and Sunday. If the proposal is approved this semester, enforcement might begin in late August or early September, with a proposed date of Sept. 1.

Timmons said there are several reasons for the proposed changes. Complaints on a continual basis have been made by community members over the lack of parking in the visitor lots. Timmons said students from off campus housing are using these lots as temporary storage.

The second reason is residential students who are parked in Mast Lot bring their cars closer to campus after 6 p.m. and fill up lots reserved for guests.

Associate Vice President for Business Affairs David May said there is plenty of parking available to students in both A and B lots, Alumni lot, the Strafford Road lot, and others. May said the intention of these proposals is for UNH to be more hospitable to guests.

“I don’t think our parking lots should alleviate the issue of all the student housing downtown not providing any parking for their residents,” May said.

Jonathan Dean, current student body president, said the proposal would impact students tremendously and Friday will be the time to make some negotiations about the future of those lots.

Dean specifically used the example of the Edgewood Road Lot because students park there to go to the HRC and said it’s vital for promoting a healthier campus. He said Student Senate and the transportation committee will work through options on Friday.

The Transportation Committee Meeting is on Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Board of Trustees Room in Thompson Hall.

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