Rutgers University students facing parking backlash in ‘Hub City’
By: Julie Tsirkin
Hundreds of dollars in parking tickets are piling up for Rutgers students and nothing is being done about it. Buildings are erected left and right, projects are planned, and yet there is no sign of increased parking availability in the works.
New Brunswick, N.J., is popularly referred to as the ‘Hub City’ for many reasons – it houses the world headquarters of two major companies like Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb, it has two significant in-state hospitals, it lies at the center of Jer- sey’s major roadways, and is home to Rutgers University: N.J’s major research institu- tion. In addition, New Brunswick has culture, award-winning restaurants and theaters like no other.
However, the Hub just doesn’t have enough space for any of these things to be enjoyed. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 55,831 residents of this small city, and that is exactly who the parking is available for, if that. What is not taken into ac- count for are the 40,000 students enrolled in Rutgers University, many of whom live off- campus in rented New Brunswick houses and struggle to find parking every day.
With constant construction to expand and renovate the College Avenue campus, which overlaps with downtown New Brunswick, large construction companies such as Devco are ordered to pursue projects in efforts to accommodate more students. Unfortunately, with street parking already a huge problem, students are afraid that the addition of mul- tiple university residential buildings will make parking in New Brunswick virtually impos- sible.
A current Rutgers University junior, Dana Prignoli, 20, has had enough with her parking experience. “I’ve lived off campus for two years now, and it’s been just as awful no mat- ter what street I lived on. Last year, our house had only two street passes despite the
six of us living in the house so I had to pay hundreds of dollars just to be able to park next to my house.”
Prior to proposing new construction, the city of New Brunswick needs to put a plan in place to create more parking for current residents, or the situation will only become less controllable.
“I live on Mine Street, and despite my parking pass, I still got hit with six tickets. Why? Because the cops and the parking authority aren’t on the same page. There would be construction going on at the side of the street where we were allowed to park, but due to alternate side parking for street cleaning we couldn’t park on the other side either. I’m a student with two jobs, I don’t have time to drive around in search of parking for hours, or pay these ridiculous tickets.”, says current senior Jenna Serritella, 21.
Ms. Prignoli doesn’t believe the University and city of New Brunswick doesn’t care about providing parking, but only about profitability and ripping off. There are eight parking decks available in New Brunswick, but they all come at a hefty price. Some residents suggest that authorities should make a portion of the parking decks free of charge for those with proof of residency. Serritella continues, “With the money they collect from all those tickets, you would think they could build a free deck to accommodate us.”
These parking issues are widespread among the off-campus student community, and have been addressed to both the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) and the New Brunswick Police, to no avail.
When asked why alternate side parking wasn’t coordinated with the construction on Mine Street, Roger B., a New Brunswick Police officer responded, “We don’t communi- cate with each other, we are separate. They do their thing and we do ours.”
The NBPA was contacted for a statement regarding this issue, but refused to comment.