The student parking crisis at JCU


Georgia de Lotz

Students around campus wonder why there are no empty spaces to park their vehicles.

Grace Sherban, The Carroll News

As students returned to campus this fall, expectations for the semester were high. This is the first in-person fall semester after COVID-19 forced John Carroll to go virtual for the majority of last year. Anticipation built for the start of classes during Streak Week as students began to arrive on campus. Once classes started, students came with cars only to find that there is nowhere to park. 

 “The parking spots are very tight and since we have limited places to park, it’s very hard to pull in and pull out. And it’s very frustrating to find a parking spot especially at busy times on campus,” Makenna Glaser ‘25 told The Carroll News.

John Carroll University Police Department Chief Brian Hurd spoke to The Carroll News about the situation and outlined what the department has been doing to fix the parking crisis. Hurd has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, 13 of those have been here at John Carroll –– as the chief of JCUPD for the last five years.

“We have 1530 spaces here on campus for all purposes. That includes handicap parking, some reserved parking spaces, etc. Of that, student applications are about 940 spaces” said Hurd. The remaining spaces are reserved for faculty, university vehicles and construction crews who are renovating the Grasselli Library and Dolan Hall. “We have about 1514 students who have purchased permits.” 

The total number of students parking on campus at any given time fluctuates because students who live off campus or commute are typically only parked on campus during peak class times. 

Chief Hurd examined how many students purchased a parking permit during the past two fall semesters and he concluded that typically about 50% of all students purchase a pass. 

“We were looking at our number of students that we projected to have this coming year, knowing that we had a conservatively smaller class…So looking at keeping that ratio [from previous years] the same –– that half [of students] buy permits…we thought we had a cushion of about 150 cars.” Hurd told The Carroll News.

Comparing the numbers from the past two fall semesters, about 100 more students bought a parking pass this year than usual. It isn’t quite clear what provoked this surge in students buying permits. 

In years prior, the University also used the Green Road Annex Lot as a parking lot for freshmen and sophomores who had their cars on campus. A shuttle was provided by the University to transport residential students to and from their cars on the lot, which was about one mile away from campus.

 “This past year with COVID and some of the financial hardships that the University faced, [it was] decided that we could examine selling the property and using those funds to help fund the operation,” said Chief Hurd. The main culprit responsible for the parking crisis is the discontinuation of the Green Road Annex, which is exacerbated by the unexpected increase in students buying parking passes. In the Belvoir Lot, some of the spaces allotted for John Carroll vans are going to be converted into student spaces. JCUPD is currently working on creating even more spaces for students to park and is conducting further research to see if any current faculty spaces can be transitioned into student spaces.

Since the time of publication, JCUPD has sent out an email to all students notifying them that an additional 27 student parking spaces have been made available in the Belvoir lot. Another 10 spaces that were once reserved for vehicles owned by the university have been converted into spaces for students who have oversized vehicles. An additional 17 spaces are now available to faculty and staff in the gravel parking lot near the library and 10 of these spaces are located in the Dolan parking garage. In the event that no spaces are available, overflow parking is located in the freshman commuter parking lot off campus near BP and Mr. Tire.