Parking at Humber: It could be worse

Travis Kingdon 

News Reporter 

For students who drive to school, finding parking at Humber College North campus is a daily struggle.

The lineups for pay-on-exit lots start early in the morning and spaces never seem to open up.  Students who purchased parking permits also occasionally have trouble finding spaces on campus.

A petition on entitled “Fix Humber College Parking issues ASAP” has gathered just over 200 signatures.  The petition hopes to catch the attention of Parking Services Coordinator Garry Shaw and persuade him to address the unavailability of parking at Humber.

“It’s terrible,” said Daniel Iacucci, a Psychology student at Humber.

Iacucci is one of many sitting in a line up just after 10 a.m. patiently waiting for a spot to open up.

He said that the amount of parking at North campus is insufficient for the amount of students that commute there.

“We have experienced more pressure this year than in previous years,” said Rob Kilfoyle,  director of Public Safety and Emergency Management.  “In fact we even decreased the number of permits we sold to students last year so we’re not quite sure why that is.”

Four hours of parking at Humber costs $4 in the pay-on-exit lots.  Any time over four hours will cost $7.  Permits are sold at the beginning of each semester on a first-come first-serve basis and cost $578, according to the Department of Public Safety’s website.

If students park on campus every day, without a permit, for more than eight hours, it will cost them $735 for one semester.

According to Kilfoyle, parking permits on campus are oversold by 10 per cent. Lot 5 is closed off daily for overflow permit parking, even though it’s designated as a pay-on-exit lot.

The overwhelming demand for parking results in a lack of availability, leaving students waiting for a spot to open up.

Some students are calmer than others while waiting for parking.

“I’m patient, I use my time wisely,” said Carla Robfield, a Practical Nursing student.

Robfield was reviewing lecture notes while sitting in her car waiting for a parking spot.

“I try to get here an hour before class,” she said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out for me and today is one of those days.”

Killfoyle explains Humber has roughly 20,000 people coming to it on a daily basis, and while not everyone drives, motorists account for a large portion.

“The reality is that there are too few parking spaces for the number of people that come to Humber,” said Kilfoyle.

The solution to the problem is not as clear-cut as it may seem.

Kilfoyle said the river, Arboretum and roads surround Humber, not leaving much room to expand parking.

“We simply don’t have the space, we’re landlocked,” said Kilfoyle.

Kilfoyle suggests students having difficulty finding parking on campus go to the Queen’s Plate lot, just off of Highway 27 near the Woodbine Mall.

The Queen’s Plate lot has 682 parking spots and it is hardly ever full, he said.

“I think we’re less than 50 per cent capacity at most times up there,” said Kilfoyle.

Shuttles to campus run from Queen’s Plate every 15 minutes starting at 6:45 a.m.

“We spend a considerable amount of money on the shuttle service to campus, it’s in the neighbourhood of half a million dollars to run those,” said Kilfoyle.

But some students say Queen’s Plate isn’t a good option.

Iacucci said it was too far, and Robfield said catching the bus doesn’t work for her.

Parking services has tried to make options available but allows it’s impossible to make everyone happy.

“Everyone wants to park as close to the buildings as possible and have parking just available,” he said. “The reality is that’s never going to be the case.”

Kilfoyle said the Department of Public Safety tracks parking on a daily basis and observes overall trends. Wednesday is the busiest day in terms of parking, he said.

“I would say by 8 a.m. or 8:15 a.m. every day the lots are full, it doesn’t take much,” said Kilfoyle.

There is a small turnover between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. as classes let out and spots open up, he said.

Kilfoyle said the Department of Public Safety is looking into ways to alleviate the parking stress. Potential future projects include a mobile parking app and signage on Highway 27 informing commuters if the lots on campus are full.

Instead of sitting in a line up waiting for a spot to open up, Kilfoyle offers some advice to students.

“If they don’t get here before eight, go to Queen’s Plate,” said Kilfoyle.