Elgin Community College’s parking lots may struggle with an increased student body

Matt Karambelas, Managing Editor

Parking lots at colleges are either a blessing or a curse depending on how they’re made and Elgin Community College’s parking lots are no exception. ECC’s parking lots are misdesigned and terrible to get in or out of during this semester.

ECC’s parking lots are filled more than ever this semester. One factor could be due to the semester’s increased enrollment numbers. The last decade showed a decline of student enrollment at ECC, but this semester the student count has increased 3%, enrollment being at almost 10,000 students.

The increase in students also could mean more students at peak times for classes. Most of the students can be seen entering or leaving the college around the times of 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. These are the busiest times for students either leaving or entering for courses at ECC. These peak times are when you can expect to see students driving around trying to find a spot. It will make those last five minutes before your class a headache as you try to find a spot close to the building but gets farther and farther away as you circle around for more than those five minutes.

Another factor is the increase in students with cars. ECC is classified as a commuter school and as such would mean a good majority of students would have a car for themselves. The majority of the cars happen to pile up where most classes are held, such as A and B parking lots. ECC parking lots do have alternative ways of exiting and reaching the main roadways with such streets as Renner Drive, Hoffer Drive and Fleetwood Drive.

“ECC’s website actually has a map of all the parking lots available to students and the roads that connect to them, offering alternative ways for students to get out without having to go through the main areas to reach Randall Road and McLean Boulevard,” said ECC’s Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Callahan.

Parking at ECC needs to be organized in a better way and needs to be improved on, but how is the question. I spent some time talking with Ryan Callahan, the Superintendent for Grounds, this includes the parking lots as well.  He has been with ECC as the superintendent of grounds for 12 and a half years. Callahan as the superintendent of grounds at ECC takes care of all exterior things including the parking lots. As the superintendent of grounds for the college Callahan has seen some nasty things coming from the parking lot.

He shared his experience about the latest semester’s amount of students and the congestion they face when trying to enter and leave for classes. Callahan speaks on this and how to alleviate some of this for some stress-free driving at ECC.

“There are 13 different parking lots for students to park on with more than half of it being for students,” Callahan said. “Alternative routes and ways to get out of campus are always available just not known by the students.”

There are always alternative ways to beat the congestion in some more common areas of the campus. These alternative routes take students a little farther but will ultimately get them to the same main roads they need to get home. Habits and preference make wanting to park as close to the building of their classes and not wanting to change is the true factor in the congestion ECC students are having while trying to escape after a long day of class.

Parking lots have been an issue for students at ECC year after year. This year, especially with the increase of students at ECC, parking is just plain awful. ECC has over 13 lots for students to park in and has plenty of spaces to accommodate all the students attending this semester. Congestion we all see while trying to enter or exit the college is due to habit and preference of where to go. Alternative routes and time management are easily the best ways to beat the parking lot issues many of us who have cars face while attending ECC.