In late August, the Brunswick Town Council passed an ordinance approving a two-hour parking limit and restricted overnight parking on Park Row from Gustafson House to College Street. The new regulations, which affect approximately 20 parking spaces, are the newest restrictions in a string of added rules designed to limit long-term parking on and adjacent to campus.

According to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, the recent town ordinance reflected Bowdoin’s concern that there was not enough vehicle turnover on the section of Park Row.

“That critical stretch of Park Row, which has such convenient access to so many college facilities, was locked up—pretty much day and night—mostly by student vehicles. People could camp out there for extended periods of time,” he said.

According to Captain Mark Waltz of the Brunswick Police Department, the College approached the town with the idea of instituting the two-hour limit and the overnight parking restriction. 

The College has not only made clear that it is dedicated to promoting a walking campus where people are encouraged to travel on foot, but also to providing more convenient parking spaces for campus visitors. This reasoning was instrumental in Bowdoin’s decision to convert certain student parking lots into visitor, faculty and staff lots. 

The College announced in February that it would make significant changes to parking on campus, including prohibiting students from using 63 spaces in the College House parking lots along Maine Street during weekdays business hours.

In 2012, the College converted the parking lot on Coffin Street—formerly available for student use—into a lot solely for faculty, staff and visitors.

For students with cars on campus, the Town of Brunswick ordinance and the College’s new parking rules have dramatically reduced where and for how long students can park in central campus locations. Some students expressed concerns that their mobility will be hampered because of the changes. 

The only remaining student lots are peripheral to the main campus, with the majority of the student population now parking at Farley Field House and Watson Arena.  

“At this time of the year, I am perfectly fine biking, but I live on Pleasant Street,” said Denis Maguire ’15. “In the winter, I would like a place to park that is convenient to class. As it stands now, the eight-minute walk from Farley to the Quad almost negates the drive I had to take to get on campus.”

The cost of Bowdoin parking decals is another concern that has been raised by some students who have cars on campus. The charge of $20 per semester seems high to those who believe that the reduction in student spaces has eroded the value of the decals.

“If there are fewer places we can park, the price should go way down,” said Amanda Kinneston ’15.

Many students living in College Houses on Maine Street have voiced disappointment that they cannot park in their house lots.

“I’m really frustrated by the no-student parking rule at Helmreich House,” said Beth Findley ’16, a resident of the House. “I don’t even think faculty would feel comfortable parking here, and that is displayed by the fact that our lot is empty all day.”

Kinneston questioned whether making more lots available to faculty and staff is truly necessary.

“It’s not like we’re hiring more faculty and staff,” said Kinneston. “If anything, we’re accepting more students, and they will eventually need more parking in the future.”

Kinneston lives in Brunswick Apartments, which has a large student parking lot. However, she reported that the lot is now frequently at capacity because of the new regulations. 
Nichols acknowledges that the campus parking changes have mainly affected students, but defended the new limitations.

“Unfortunately, students are probably the most inconvenienced,” he said. “If you live in Quinby House, it’s nice to be able to park right outside of your bedroom window. I understand that. But it’s simply not practical for the smooth operation of the College.”