Michael D. Crump

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – Parking at Winthrop University, or a lack of it, has long been an issue for many students, especially those who commute to campus.

According to Winthrop’s 2017-2018 Common Data Set, 52 percent of undergraduate students live off campus and have some type of commute.

This year, finding parking may be even more difficult as a section of the Meadows commuter lot, located on the corner of College Avenue and Myrtle Drive near Dinkins Hall, has been sectioned off indefinitely to store construction equipment used by the city of Rock Hill for work on water and sewage lines.

“I’m basically being cheated out of what I paid for,” said Ashlyn Hunter, a senior who commutes to campus.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that I paid $100 for a parking sticker, but when I show up to class there are no spots whatsoever.”

Hunter said the construction has only made the lack of parking worse and she has been “forced to park illegally” in order to make it to classes on time.

It’s not uncommon, during peak class hours, to see cars circling the crowded Meadows lot waiting for a space to become available.

However, Wes Wiles, assistant chief of the university police, said the construction would not change how police plan to enforce parking.

“That entire (Meadows) lot is for commuters,” he said. “We still have ample parking for any commuters that may not be able to park there now.”

Wiles said students who struggle to find a space should park in the Legion lot, located off Cherry Road, because the lot is “never full.”

Andrew Cooley, a junior commuter student, said the construction has not specifically impacted his experience this semester, but depending on the time of day, he spends a significant amount of time waiting for a parking spot to become available.

“Commuter parking is often a mixed bag,” said Cooley. “It isn’t always ideal and there is absolutely room for improvement.”