Students-Faculty Frustrated Yet Again with Lack of Parking


A tale as old as time. Song as old as rhyme. Parking at the Mercy College – Dobbs Ferry Campus.

A never-ending battle of tickets to unregistered cars, illegal park jobs, that even go as far as boots being places on student’s vehicles, Mercy’s parking lots show no favoritism.

It’s a true contest of beauty and the beast; parking on college campuses has been an issue long worth mentioning.

Parking wherever you can to make it to class on time seems to be the norm here. Truthfully, most won’t discourage that notion.

With over one thousand parking spaces available on campus, Mercy’s student population is more than frustrated with trying to find a spot to make it to class on time. Some might call it improper time management. Unfortunately showing up 30 minutes prior to class won’t guarantee you much of anything.

“Parking here is an absolute nightmare,” says Isabelle Dakin, a Mercy Junior.

“There just isn’t enough parking, especially considering the number of commuters that go to the school. I already pay so much out of pocket to go to this school. I don’t like the idea that the security guards can’t be more lenient to students who are just trying to make it to class on time.”

Leniency truly is in the eye of the beholder.

After receiving declining interview requests from tenured security guards, one of the newer hires who prefers to be left unnamed had mentioned a parking ticket case that caught my attention.

He stated that in recent weeks, a Mercy student just fulfilled payment with his six-hundred-dollar hold on his Mercy student account. A high dollar amount allotted solely to parking tickets.

“I was told the parking situation here was something to keep an eye on but, I didn’t know it was like that, that bad,” he stated.

According to Mercy’s website, 92 percent of Mercy’s student population are commuters. With an overall student population of 12,000, and without including faculty and other miscellaneous staffing, 11,040 students will require parking throughout a semester (campus permitting).

That’s not the best of ratios.

With the disparity in spaces to student population, head of campus safety Cesar Robles cleanly stated, “at the moment there aren’t any plans to increase the parking at the Dobbs Ferry Campus, however, it is an item that is reviewed on a yearly basis.”

Fact of the matter is, Mercy’s parking lots just aren’t doing the trick for students, faculty, or its associated staffers.

It’s no secret that since the start of the semester there has brought a surge in tickets. According to Robles, “up to thirty-five tickets are given out weekly”. For those keeping track at home, that’s one- hundred-and-forty tickets a month.

These numbers alone make the “six-hundred-dollar hold” a story worth believing.

No secret to most, the rumor of a parking garage has been an idea that has floated around campus for years now, or at least since 2018 (my first semester at Mercy), and as a disabled vet myself, I welcome the shorter walks and ease of access to open parking spots.

However (there is always a however), that rumor is just that, a fallacy.

Unable to build a parking garage due to the town’s code on buildings, Mercy is unable to build such a structure even if it were to elevate the parking dilemma.

For those willing to look for themselves, the guidelines are clearly stated in Article Xll of the USE-SPECIFIC-STANDARDS for accessory buildings within the Village of Dobbs Ferry.

Having students being back on campus since the beginning of the pandemic hit just a few semesters ago, we are truly beginning to feel the aftermath of parking on campus again. Aftermath in the form of long walks to the dorms, classes, and athletic events.

Some walks are just worse than others.

What can we do to solve this issue? It’s most certainly not going away anytime soon.

I must say, there is an essence to the parking lot wars. A sort of a moral victory when you find a parking space on campus. Without that, I feel like an old man as I walk into my media class atop the second floor of victory.

“Henry, why’re you late?”

With my head high, and my brow glistening in sweat on a forty-degree October day, I’ll utter the words, “Sorry professor, I just walked all the way from the R lot. I parked half in a spot and half on the curb. And what a hike it was to get here, even 10 minutes late.”

Naturally, the class will applaud my efforts. As they should because they too have felt that walk.

They too also know that one crazy security guard who won’t miss a beat on my car, illegally parked. A $25 ticket for my efforts will surely be waiting for me when I return.

Thank you, campus safety for keeping us all so very safe. My hour-plus commute is painful enough.

And the never-ending parking wars live to see another day.