Students searching for overnight parking close to campus can now count one option out for good: The Town of Brunswick approved a permanent overnight parking ban on Page Street last Monday night. Prior to the vote, an emergency parking ban on the street had been in place from January 21 to February 3.

The ban comes as a response to an influx of parking on the street by Bowdoin students, which has frustrated residents and reignited a debate about the College’s new parking rules. Residents can obtain a permit allowing them to park on the street overnight. 

Much of the new competition for parking spaces on the street has been due to the conversion of the parking lots at Burnett House—located at the corner of Page Street and Maine Street—from student parking to parking for faculty, staff, and visitors during weekdays. 

The town’s ban is also part of a larger trend of parking restrictions aimed at preventing students from parking for long periods of time. A similar policy was passed for Longfellow Avenue in December. A two-hour limit and overnight parking restriction was recently instituted on Park Row, and Cleveland Street also has a two-hour daytime limit. 

No student vehicles were ticketed or towed for violating the temporary overnight parking ban, according Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.

“The Town clearly posted the area and compliance was excellent,” he wrote in an email to the Orient. 

Meanwhile, it has come as a relief to residents of the street. 

“In the past, there was just sort of a balance that worked,” said Emily Swan, who has lived on the street since 1988. “When Bowdoin changed the rules in the lots behind the student houses…[students] started parking on our street all the time. They parked there overnight, and they parked for days on end.”

Beginning in December, Nichols emailed individual students and one faculty member who frequently parked on the street, encouraging them to park elsewhere. These emails were followed by warnings to students parked on the street once the ban went into effect, and a followup email to all students and employees informing them of the ban.

“It’s been weirdly indirect,” said Uma Blanchard ’17, a Burnett House resident. “None of us really knew it was an issue—I don’t think anyone in our house has had interactions with [Page Street residents].” 

Several students said they were frustrated by the new restrictions. 

“I feel that the parking ban is unreasonable because as a member of Burnett, I am also a Page Street resident and think it’s only fair that we should have access to this parking as well,” wrote Burnett resident Jess Del Duca ’17 in an email to the Orient. 

“It’s extremely inconvenient to have to walk to Farley and back every time we want to drive somewhere; it adds at least a half an hour onto a trip,” wrote Sophie Brunt ’17, another Burnett resident, in an email to the Orient. “Especially living in a college house, people with cars run a lot of errands for the house because that’s the only way we can get things we need.”

Swan said that while she and other residents on the street sympathized with the students’ situation, their parking on the street often blocked driveways and made it difficult for municipal services to make it down the street. 

“We don’t want to have a complicated regulatory regime. We just want our street to be reasonable,” she said. 

She added that students tend to drive larger cars than other people who park on the street, and would sometimes park far away from the curb. Snow drifts piling up on the curb exacerbated the problem. 

“The street was just getting narrower and narrower,” she said. 

Students and residents alike said that the root of the problem was the College’s parking policy that went into effect in September. The policy prohibits students from parking in Burnett’s lot—or any other College House lot except Reed House’s. Students noted that the lot often has many empty spaces during the day. 

“Burnett has two parking lots of its own, and they are rarely full. The most I ever see in either of them is a few cars at a time,” wrote Brunt. 

“The problem would be solved in an instant if Bowdoin just switched the rules back,” said Swan. “What was an internal Bowdoin problem was becoming our problem, and that wasn’t really fair to us.”

Nichols explained that the changes to the parking policy were recommended by a parking consultant hired by the College. 

“This change was made after a careful assessment and was consistent with recommendations to improve visitor parking that were contained in a campus parking study,” wrote Nichols.

The College is not considering any changes to the parking policy in the near future, according to Nichols.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article misconstrued two of Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols' statements. It has been updated to reflect that the College is not considering changes to the parking policy in the near future and that no student vehicles were ticketed or towed for violating the town's temporary overnight parking ban on Page Street.