For months, the Office of Community Relations’ solution to appease growing tension over lack of parking on public streets has been laying crumpled on the road.
This summer, Temple’s administration handed residents of the community, including 58-year-old Daniel Briley, yellow flyers to place on the vehicles of Temple staff and students, urging them to park in University sponsored lots.
“[Temple administration] gave them to us over the summer to put on the cars to tell them to park in the lots and not on the street because of the problem that we can’t park our cars,” Briley said. “But it doesn’t do any good because I put them out all summer long and the Temple students come along, see it on their cars, ball it up and throw it on the ground.”
And that’s where the problem stayed until an e-mail from the Office of the Senior Vice President was sent to all students Jan. 20. The e-mail again urged students to be considerate of community members and to park in Temple lots.
However, the e-mail spurred resentment from students who cited exorbitant prices as the reasoning behind parking on city streets.
“I think the rates are continually going up, and that’s ridiculous. People can’t afford that,” senior Melissa Sterner said. “And if [the Temple administration] is having problems, they’re putting it on to the students, and it’s not the students’ responsibility to solve these problems.”
But James M. Cirillo, director of Parking Services, believes the solution benefits the community and students all the same.
With 4,000 registered parkers on main campus taking advantage of what Mr. Cirillo calls “competitive rates,” students and faculty save even more in a logistical sense.
“The areas are all attended; from a security standpoint it makes a lot of sense,” Cirillo said. “From a convenience standpoint it makes a lot of sense, especially on weeks when we have a lot of problems on streets with snow and ice. The areas are cleared and it’s a lot more painless going into the parking areas than trying to find parking in the mounds of snow.”
Even though students may benefit from added convenience and lowered rates, when compared to other area schools, the numbers don’t quite add up. Through Parking Services, faculty is charged $332 while students are charged $240 per semester.
At LaSalle’s campus, barely a 20 minute drive from Temple, resident students are charged $120 per year, while commuters are required to pay $80. Drexel and Villanova also charge less.
But with Temple’s main campus reporting 78 car thefts in public areas during 2000-2002, the advantage of safety in University lots is considerable.
“Rates are a sensitive issue,” Cirillo said. “But I think if you intend to park in unattended areas for lengthy periods of time and you come back and find damage to your vehicle, in the long run I think you’re going to say, ‘It probably would have been a wise investment if I would have registered through parking rather than go through the repair route of having my car tended to because of damage and now it’s costing me thousands of dollars.'”
Senior Vice President Clarence Ambrister, one of the administrators behind the e-mail, hopes that even though debate will continue, blame and the pointing of fingers will stop.
“It’s an issue all of the interested parties have to take some responsibilities in solving,” Ambrister said. “The question is, ‘How are we going to solve this problem, how are we going to peacefully coexist, how are we going to be good neighbors?’ I think it’s a reciprocal relationship. So it’s not ‘you do it, you take care of it,’ it’s how we are all going to live together. And that’s really what [the e-mail] was designed to do.”
Brandon Lausch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org