Bumper to Bumper: Bellarmine’s jam-packed parking lot

Blocked up parking lots, a packed campus center, clogged building doorways, students sitting on stairs during assemblies. This year,  the capacity appears to be pushed to the limit. Bellarmine’s population sits at around 890 this year. As the school continues to ambitiously reach out to bring new students into the community, the school’s ability to handle greater numbers of students is being brought into question.

The pressure is being felt by students this year in the parking lot. The main parking lot holds less than 500 spots for students. Driving to Bellarmine is essential for students to get to school, with the school possessing a small fleet of buses, while students hail from as far as Port Orchard, Olympia, and SeaTac. Alongside the already small number of spaces, this year students had to have both of their parents log on to Blackbaud to sign the parking pass form, making the application process more difficult for students whose parents are less involved in their academics. This year many students are left without parking passes as a result.

As the dean of students, Cari Harrison manages all of the different aspects of student life, including the parking lot. Harrison explained the new system of application for parking passes, stating “…The primary reason was around safety and security…So that’s why it seemed like a very arduous process this year, because it really was required … the parent to accept the form, their parent to have a login, sign off on it, and then register vehicles and all those things had to happen. In order to be granted a permit. It’s a privilege to be in our lot because we do take pride in it being safe and secure.”. Harrison estimated that there are about 50 students that were unable to complete the parking form, and have been left without a parking spot on campus, “So it’s a problem…” Harrison said, “it’s definitely a problem.”.

“There’s not a great solution right now…” Harrison said, “…and parking in an unauthorized place, whether that’s Target or WalMart…We can’t say to students you can’t do that, but you’re also risking being towed.”

Harrison, looking for a future resolution to the issue, is open to the ideas of students. “What I would love is for students to come up with a solution,” She is willing to consider solutions like limiting the amount of single drivers or prioritizing seniority for parking passes.

Bellarmine’s Lot 1, Zone A is completely at capacity. (Joey Langdon)