January 27, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 64  

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Parking not just a pain for students

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Although London community members are encouraged to attend performances at Western’s two theatres, there are no special concessions made for them to ease the hassle of parking on campus.

When attending a showing of The Mikado last week at Talbot Theatre, Western alumnus Mary Taylor experienced difficulty finding a parking spot. “It was pandemonium; there was no place for anyone to park,” she said.

“I am calling on the behalf of a lot of people,” Taylor said, noting there are many alumni and Londoners who regularly attend productions such as this one.

“Western is a big facility; this is a ridiculous situation,” Taylor said, explaining that she has been attending shows at Talbot Theatre and von Kuster Hall in the Music Building for years and parking has always been a problem.

“The parking lot [near Talbot Theatre] is very small,” she said, adding The Mikado, which ran for almost two weeks, had a full house every night. The weather exasperated the situation by blocking some spots with snow, she said. “There were recitals going on next door [claiming some of the parking spots].

“You always have to worry about parking,” Taylor said, adding she has now resorted to arriving 45 minutes to an hour early every time she attends a theatre event on campus.

“This issue came up at our parking forum [in late October 2003]: the idea of free visitor parking to encourage people to come to campus,” said Paul Yeoman, University Students’ Council president.

According to Yeoman, the problem has always been how to set the priority on who parks where. “The university tends to send visitors to [Alumni Hall and D.B. Weldon Library parking lots] because [the theatre] area is in the core.”

“We welcome having people visit campus, but students pay to come here every day [and they] should be getting priority,” Yeoman added.

“It is difficult to provide parking adjacent to all of our facilities,” said Dave Riddell, associate VP-physical plant and capital planning. “We really don’t have any area to put parking [for the theatres] except in the sports field, and we also have a demand for those sports fields — it is a challenge to balance all of these needs.”



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