Test-Driving a New Parking System?


On returning to Hampden-Sydney this August, many upperclassmen living in Venable Hall were surprised to find a freshly paved and color coded parking lot. One student asked, “Is this a new parking system? Another student commented, “The blue curb clashes horribly with the federalist brick red.” And yet another student commented that the color choice was not so bad, as it “matches the recently erected and unnecessary emergency lights”.  Currently, many students are worried about potential changes to the parking system.

            Chief Gee reported, “Nothing is really all that new about the parking system.” Apparently, the system is the same as it has always been. But at Venable, instead of signs denoting faculty and staff parking, there is now a blue curb. Gee says the color-coding is the “test drive” of a way to replace expensive and often damaged signposts. If it works in the Venable lots, then others may follow. And, when asked about the refreshed yellow curbs throughout campus, especially behind the Tiger Inn, Chief Gee says, “these were always fire lanes. Nothing changed; we are just enforcing it now.” Evidently, a fire truck was recently unable to reach Pannill Commons.

            There are a few parking policy changes to note, though. The old Eggleston Library parking lot is now for the exclusive use of Thompson Hospitality employees; a 24-hour THC zone so to speak. Also, off-campus students are now allowed to compete with professors and frat-stars for use of the College Church side lot. The discerning student will notice that this lot, too, has been newly paved, repairing the horrible, muddy ditch that used to serve as the parking area. The Hampden Houses also received fresh pavement this summer, providing a new surface to accentuate the sea of broken glass that graces the lot like dew on early Saturday and Sunday mornings.

But besides minor modifications, there is nothing that has fundamentally changed about the parking at Hampden-Sydney College. Colors replace signs, the dining hall staff can now park unmolested in the same lot in which they have always parked unmolested, and the Church only lacks an unsightly mess. Faculty lots are still faculty lots; student lots are student lots. And parking tickets still cost the same. What is different, though, is the aesthetic. The beautiful new lot behind Venable contrasts sharply to the patchwork pavement and loose gravel of the lower Venable lot. The new look of Venable lot also makes the crossties and gravel of Eliott House look shoddy. The Morton faculty lot did not receive blue paint, and the Blake lot could use some sprucing, too. Hopefully the “test drive” of the Venable lot forecasts updates to come for the Hampden-Sydney parking infrastructure.



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