Piedmont Needs More Student Parking at the Commons


Crowded parking lots on the Piedmont University campus continue to pose problems PHOTO//Madison Gott

Hailey Johnson and Jarrett Ray

Piedmont has many parking problems, but the one that impacts students the most is the limited spaces for the Commons — the place we go to eat, work out and socialize.

Although our campus is relatively small, being in the mountains makes some destinations difficult and unsafe to walk. For example, the Village is roughly one mile from the Commons, with a significant portion of that trek lacking sidewalks. This forces many students to forgo meals on a busy day of classes — meals that they paid for.

“I can’t even go to the cafeteria to eat in between my busy day of classes because there is nowhere to park, yet I’m forced to pay for a meal plan,” said junior psychology major Madi Gallerelli. “It’s extremely annoying being a resident who lives in the Village who can’t walk to campus due to the lack of sidewalk access, yet when I drive to campus, there is no available parking.”

Further complicating this is the increasing number of students demanding parking spaces in high-traffic areas. Over the past two years, Piedmont has boasted about having “record numbers” of incoming freshmen. This growth of the student body can be seen in the crammed tables in the cafeteria. But good luck even making it into the cafeteria, as available parking spaces have become virtually nonexistent.  

Last summer, Piedmont attempted to fix part of the problem by adding 26 new parking spaces just outside the Loudermilk Field. Although we appreciate the effort, this hasn’t come close to fixing the issue. We’re also thankful that Mystic Hall was planned with an appropriate-sized parking lot. But that still isn’t enough. It’s time for a drastic change. Students have been so frustrated with the issue of parking many have begun to park in red lots or create their own parking spaces, mainly outside the sand volleyball courts. Campus police have been ticketing the students who park there, but what are we supposed to do?

If a student lives in the Village, there’s no safe path to walk to the Commons. Class schedules can allow for as little as one hour and 10 minutes for lunch, so even if Village residents risk crossing Demorest Mount Airy Highway or walking down 441 to Georgia Street to get to the cafeteria, that leaves little time to eat.

Piedmont needs to find a solution for students to park on campus, especially those who live in dorms further away. One solution could be providing residents who live in the Village special parking passes and giving them their own lot to park in. This would prevent residents who live on the main campus from driving to the dining hall, which quickly takes up most of the available parking spaces. Another solution could be to replace the sand volleyball court outside of the Commons with a parking lot since that’s basically where cars often illegally park anyway. At a minimum, students who live in the Village should not be required to purchase meal plans, as the apartments are outfitted with kitchenettes.

Students love the Commons and all that it has to offer. We just want to park somewhere so we can enjoy it.