Commuter lots opened to May 4 visitors

Simon Husted

Commuters may see fewer parking spaces available on campus today and tomorrow as visitors convene to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the May 4 shootings.

Lawrence Emling, manager of Parking Services, said personnel will be stationed around campus guiding visitors to available parking on both days.

“Campus Center and Music and Speech have enough open space to accommodate the visitors,” Emling said.

Those parking lots along with the S-Science lot will be open to visitors without a parking pass.

The Taylor R-3 lot will also be closed from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow for May 4 activities. Parking fees will still be enforced at the visitor pay lot near Risman Drive until 5 p.m. today and all of tomorrow.

On typical weekdays the pay lot charges $2 for the first hour of parking and $1 for every hour that follows. The maximum charge is $6.

This strategy to accommodate visitors on May 4 is nothing new, Emling said. He had no estimate of how many visitors will be on campus for the 40th anniversary of the May 4 shootings and its dedication as a registered national historic site. He said parking services determines which lots to open May 4 by looking at what has the most available space.

Emling said there should be adequate spacing for students and visitors to park on both days.

“I’ve never recalled any problems in the May 4ths I’ve experienced in the last 12 years,” Emling said. He added that tomorrow morning may present a challenge because of important events, such as the Alumni Reunion, mixed in with classes.

Two student commuters who regularly park at the C-Campus Center lot disagree about available space.

Emily Dottavio, a junior dance education major, said finding a parking space on any Tuesday at C-Campus Center for her 2:15 p.m. class is sometimes difficult. She said if she arrives on campus earlier or later than 1:30, finding a spot is a challenge.

“It’s a hit or miss,” said Dottavio, who commutes 45 minutes from Massillon every day.

Dottavio said she’s concerned with finding a parking space tomorrow afternoon for that same 2:15 p.m. class. Her solution, she said, is to arrive to campus 15 minutes early, check out the traffic at C-Campus Center, and if it’s full, park at the C-Midway lot instead. Dottavio’s parking pass allows her to park at any of the nine C lots on campus.

Jessica Kostoff said she typically parks at C-Campus Center every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:40 a.m., but because of lack of available space, she has been forced three times this semester to park at the visitor pay lot and accept its weekday charge.

“There’s sometimes not even spots near the back of (C-Campus Center),” the dance performance grad student said.

Luckily, Kostoff said the Tuesday afternoon class, which gives her the most parking troubles, falls between noon and 2 p.m., when all classes are cancelled to honor the ringing of the victory bell. Nevertheless, she said she still plans to arrive on campus 15 minutes early for her 2:15 p.m. class that day.

“I’ve never done this May 4 thing before,” Kostoff said. “It’s all new to me.”

Both Kostoff and Dottavio attend the same 2:15 class, Ballet, which they said requires students to get their relatively early for warm-ups.

Dottavio said parking services should open the pay lot both days for free and designate visitors there first before placing them in lots where commuters need to park for classes.

“They should consider the students,” Dottavio said.

Contact safety reporter Simon Husted at [email protected].