On March 10, an email was sent out from the Office of Residence Life to students living in the Townhouse area regarding the construction of the two new Townhouse blocks. The progress of the construction was referenced in the email as the reasoning for the closure of a road and creation of a two-way road.
The parking area behind Townhouse Blocks 8 and 9 are now closed and there is no longer an outlet from Lynch Road onto Leeber Road. Lynch Road, which is adjacent to Townhouse Blocks 5 and 6 is now a two-way road to account for the lack of outlet to Leeber.
Captain Frank Ficko, from the Department of Public Safety, brings up where students affected by the loss of parking in the Townhouse Blocks should park.
He states, “As a result of losing some townhouse “Yellow Zone” parking spaces, the overflow parking area remains the Jogues and Regis parking lots (Orange Zone lot).
He continues with “Townhouse students are also permitted in lot H2 located on Mooney road.”
With the implementation of these changes, new concerns have been voiced around the lack of parking as students returned to campus after spring break and have had to acclimate to the new parking and traffic guidelines.
These changes to parking and traffic flow are not new concerns for students, as parking was already a concern before these changes had even been put into effect.
Junior student Caroline McConville says, “parking has been an issue and post spring break you can see even less spots are available. I think the new townhouses are a great addition but honestly this whole year, parking has been problematic.”
Although the new Townhouses mean more housing options for rising Juniors, they are coming at a price to the residents living there this year.
Junior Hadley Waterbury expresses her frustration stating, “I have been looking forward to the privileges that come with being an upperclassman at Fairfield since freshman year.”
Waterbury continues, “The construction that is taking place by the townhouses has made having a car on campus quite difficult.”
She relays personal experiences and states, “It is incredibly frustrating to have a car that you are afraid to move after four o’clock because there is a good chance that when you come back you will not be able to park anywhere you are assigned and therefore you will receive a parking ticket.”
She lives right next to the construction in a Townhouse on 6 Block, which has posed even larger inconveniences.
“The [new] two way street [has] barely any place to turn around,” Waterbury continues “so if you risk driving down to see if there is a spot, there is a good chance that you will be forced to back out or get stuck with many cars behind you,” Waterbury said.
Ficko offers a timeline for the construction of the new Townhouses.
“I anticipate the current traffic configuration to remain in place through the end of the semester,” and that “completion is scheduled for the start of the Fall 22 semester.”
Ficko says that he is not aware of any complaints that have arisen because of the new traffic changes, but students around campus have voiced their concern, just not formally to DPS.
Junior Jake Cartisano expresses that, “It’s an ongoing battle to park your car at the townhouses with less and less spots everyday.”
Similar to Waterbury, he noted the challenge of finding a spot later in the day.
“But don’t park your car in the wrong lot when there are no spots [where you have] a pass — they are quick to ticket you,” he added.
The Mirror also reached out to David Fransinelli, associate director of facilities with regards to how the administration is working to combat parking issues with rising accepted students and expansive construction, but no response was received.
Additionally, with the ever growing population of students at Fairfield, the issue of parking is prevalent in students minds.
Sophomore Lauren Basso expresses, “I am excited that new townhouses are being built, but I wish our school would accommodate and create more parking lots as well.”
Basso continues, “Parking is already a challenge, and I’m sure this will only make it difficult.”
Current townhouse resident, Theresa Morrissey ‘23 added, “while I think it is important to build more places to live to help students from having to live in triples, I often find myself looping around the townhouses to find parking for long periods of time with no luck and it’s honestly so frustrating.”
In addition to the new townhouse blocks being constructed, a February 22 article published by the Mirror, stated that a new first-year dormitory in the Quad is in the planning stage and set to be built to accommodate for the rising number of accepted students.
Fairfield University Student Association President Tyler Heffern’22 also spoke upon the rise of student enrollment in connection with the parking issue and states “the rise in student enrollment reflects the university’s strategic goal of growing our community. However, as we have seen over the past few years, our resources are being overwhelmed and stretched thin.”
He continues to mention other ways in which the influx of accepted students has posed issues for current ones stating that “Tully lines during rush periods are longer than ever, appointments can become difficult to make with Counseling, Accessibility, and career-oriented offices, converted triples have returned, and of course there are more cars in our community than places to park them.”
Heffern says that many students have voiced this frustration to FUSA regarding parking, “especially among Barnyard, Village and North Townhouse residents.”
“The principal problem at hand is that as new residence spaces are being built and more students are being enrolled, there has not been a related increase in parking spaces” Heffern relays.
He continues, “this has put a considerable strain on the spots that already exist, especially events hosted by Athletics and the Leslie C. Quick Center have returned to in-person formats.
Heffern offers three approaches to be made to potentially combat the parking issues.
The first suggestion is building more parking lots or garages on campus. However, he acknowledges “this would put a further strain on our usable land, potentially destroy protected wildlife or faculty research areas and further diminish the ‘beauty’ of our campus green spaces.”
Secondly, Heffern acknowledges potentially relocating certain populations of the community to off-campus lots or garages for permanent parking with transportation to and from campus.
The third option Heffern expressed is “decreasing the number of cars arriving on campus every day, which may involve incentives for students to not bring their cars, or identifying alternative forms of on and off-campus transportation like bikes, scooters and Zipcars.”
FUSA has created the parking committee, which “is exploring all of these options and FUSA in particular has helped strategize ways of encouraging students to refrain from bringing their cars to school, results that likely will not be tested until next academic year,” Heffern states.
There will be a survey sent out to students regarding campus transportation in the future, and FUSA will continue to engage with administration on how to resolve some of the stress that comes with it.
If there are any concerns that students have with parking, FUSA encourages students to email firstname.lastname@example.org.