Parking policy to allow convenient parking for Neptune students

Students+from+Gilbert+Hall+were+allowed+to+park+in+Lot+V+during+the+pandemic.+This+policy+remained+in+place+for+Gilbert+students.

Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

Students from Gilbert Hall were allowed to park in Lot V during the pandemic. This policy remained in place for Gilbert students.

By Gabriel Fiorini, News Reporter

DeKALB — Parking Services has proposed a plan to provide Neptune Hall residents with more convenient parking as a result of the change in policy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally Neptune and Grant Hall residents were made to park in the lots next to Grant Hall, Stevenson Hall and New Hall. This policy made it inconvenient for residents of Neptune and Gilbert Hall to keep cars at the university.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Neptune and Gilbert residents were permitted to park in lots closer to their halls because remote learning had decreased the number of individuals on campus. This policy change was effective throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. 

“When we faced that situation last year, it was like, ‘Well, do we have a good reason why to force Neptune and Gilbert residents to park way on the other side of campus?’ And we realized no, there’s no good reason for that because the parking demand was so much smaller,” said John Heckmann, associate vice president of facilities management and campus services.

Students living in Neptune Hall could keep their cars in the NIU Parking Deck, despite the deck being intended for commuter students and faculty. Gilbert residents could park in Lot V on Kishwaukee Drive.

Until now, the only carryover from last year’s parking policy modification was the option for Gilbert Hall residents to continue using the closer, more convenient Lot V. 

“With Gilbert, we have already accommodated those residents with parking over in Lot V, and they have the ability to park a bit closer to their residential hall,” Heckmann said. “We’re in the midst of making a similar accommodation for Neptune, and we’re going to be communicating that shortly with those residents, probably within the next couple of weeks.”

Heckmann said that the university was still in the process of deciding which campus parking lot would be designated for Neptune residents but was unable to elaborate on which lots were in the running. 

“We’re trying to do what’s best for everyone involved,” Heckmann said. “That means balancing out not only the needs for the residential students but needs for the commuter students and other parking demands on campus.”

The on-campus student body is only one factor that university parking administrators consider. Commuters, campus staff, prospective NIU students and contractors hired by the university account for many of the parking spaces on campus. 

“To accommodate the consistently high demand for parking in the central and east areas of campus, the university has historically required residents of Gilbert and Neptune Halls to park in the lots on the west side of Annie Glidden Road, near parking for other residence halls,” Heckmann said in an Oct. 27 email. 

Despite the changes to parking policy and more convenient parking for Neptune and Gilbert students, permit prices will remain the same. Students from those halls will be able to park in their lots with standard orange parking permits.

“I’d say it’s a great idea, last year when they let us park in the parking garage I was so happy,” said Eleanor Gentry, a junior illustration major. “The closeness of it made getting to my car a lot easier, especially with how cold it gets here in DeKalb.”

Neptune Hall students will be notified of the new parking accommodations within the next couple of weeks.