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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Many Students Unsatisfied With Conditions at Bayside Lot

Due to the closing of the North Lot for the construction of General Academic Building Number 1, UMass Boston has redirected parking to the Bayside Lot. In interviews with The Mass Media, many students were surprised by the North Lot closing, confused about where they were supposed to park and as a result late during their first week of classes.

“I actually had to call the parking office and say, ‘Everything’s full. What am I supposed to do?’” said Marilyn Moser, who is starting her second semester at UMass Boston after transferring from a university in Vermont.

Moser never parked at the Bayside Lot last semester, but she could not find anywhere else to park during the second day of classes the spring semester. “I ended up being 20 minutes late for class,” said Moser, who drives from Concord, MA. She has parked at Bayside for two out of the first ten days of classes.

Student Tom Cummings also parked at the Bayside Lot a couple times during his first week. He was late for his Wednesday class. After their first tardy, both Cummings and Moser were able to factor the time that it would take to park at the Bayside Lot into their commute and arrived to UMass Boston earlier than usual to look for parking, but not everyone has the freedom to make that adjustment.

“I do work, my schedule is exactly on time,” said Elio Merhej, a management major expecting to graduate next spring, who was 15 minutes late for his 11 a.m. class.

Merhej lives in Weymouth and works at a gas station. Because of his tight schedule, he goes directly from work to school and sometimes from school to work. In the two years he’s attended UMass Boston, he never had to park at the Bayside Lot. He also reiterated what many other students said: “It’s not worth paying $6.”

Bus driver Alex Bin-Aime called the commute from the Bayside Lot to campus “a mess.” He recalled leaving “twenty to thirty students waiting for another bus” one day because there weren’t enough shuttles running. 

Bin-Aime was also upset that his vehicle did not have a separate entryway and exit. Instead, he told reporters, he uses the same exit and entrance as students, and the bus only barely fits between the parking booths.

Some students also pointed out that the Bayside Lot is poorly lit at night, causing those who must park there after dark to fear for their safety. A series of armed robberies of young women and a sexual assault of a female UMass Boston student took place at the nearby JFK/UMass train station in November of 2012.

While the majority of students were unhappy with the change, environmental earth and ocean sciences major Kyle Shultz felt he benefitted from the opening of the Bayside Lot. He lives at the Harbor Point buildings near Bayside. “I don’t have to walk to JFK to get to the shuttle bus now,” said Shultz.

Shultz sympathized with students that drive in. “It’s more of an inconvenience to park out there than right in front of the school, and I don’t think parking anywhere here is worth $6,” he said.

Like Moser, Cummings, and Merhej, Shultz had no idea why the Bayside Lot was open and had a shuttle bus running. The school notified students regarding the closing of the North Lot in numerous ways: fliers on cars, emails, tweets, fliers in the elevators and info desk, announcements in The Mass Media, and a banner across the UMass Boston website announcing the closure. But somehow, most students interviewed still did not know that North Lot parking had been moved to the Bayside Lot until they drove in on the first day of school.

According to Steve Martinson, Director of Parking & Transportation, the relocation to the Bayside Lot has been met with “all-in-all a good reaction.”

Martinson said that it was mostly staff emailing him to let him know “it’s not as bad they thought it would be.” He also admitted that he does not receive a lot of emails from students and therefore can’t always tell what they think.