Paving petition gains traction among business students

Noah Thornburgh

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, to get Lot A paved has over 600 signatures, 37 of them from faculty and staff.

Martin said he started the petition Sept. 10 after seeing a tire pop off after driving over a pothole in the lot. Commuter Lot A’s north-half, east of Anderson Hall and south of Barsema, is unpaved gravel, while the south-half is paved.

As Martin walks through the halls of Barsema, he’s stopped by students who ask how the petition is going.

“We need a good [lot], just like professors,” Jeet Desai, junior leadership and management major, said. “If you are paying money, you should get — in return — a good parking spot.”

Laura Lendelius, director of campus services, said parking development isn’t always simple.

“I don’t know how many times we get phone calls about ‘why don’t you build a parking garage?’” she said. “A parking garage costs $25,000 a space to build. It’s not like we can just throw things in.”

Commuter Lot A is located within a regulated floodway, according to FEMA maps. The state and federal governments require permits and assessments before any developments can be made in floodway areas, according to FEMA policy.

Lendelius said a project to extend Lot A by 108 gravel spaces to the east was supposed to happen over the summer but was delayed, and she is not sure why.

“This needs to get done,” she said.

Two years ago, a petition demanding extra spaces in Lot A was signed by 84 students and sent to parking services, according to an email sent Nov. 14, 2017.

In Fall 2017, 823 students were registered for 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. classes that ran Tuesdays and Thursdays in Barsema Hall, according to data collected by Registration and Records. Between Anderson Hall and the Engineering building, 324 students were registered for classes during the same time slot, according to the data.

Lot A and Lot V, the closest commuter-only lots, have 658 parking spots between them, according to the parking services website.

Students have started parking in the blue permit lot north of Barsema Hall and taking the tickets rather than damage their cars in the commuter lot, Martin said. Some faculty signed the petition after they couldn’t park in their normal spots, he said.

Two representatives from John Deere, tabling in the lobby of the building, stopped Martin on his way out the exit because they heard about his petition.

Representatives Tiffany Ciannella and Dan Fietterer graduated from NIU in 2013.

They said they remember having car troubles in the lot when they were attending.

“[The lot] has been eating cars for 6 years,” Ciannella said as she added her signature to the petition. “I ruptured a tire out there one day because I hit a pothole.”

Martin said he is confident the petition will reach 1,000 signatures this week, as he plans to start walking through Anderson Hall and the Engineering Building.

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