Wild Wild Old Westbury Parking

During the first weeks of the fall 2017 semester, parking has been severely limited at SUNY Old Westbury. Residual equipment from the PGA tour and an increase in enrollment due to the recently unveiled Excelsior scholarship served as main culprits.

On October 2nd, a campus wide e-mail was sent out from the President Butts’ office, advising that the Clark Athletic Center parking lot was now available. While this was a relief to some, it did little to quell the frustrations of students who had been experiencing parking difficulties for weeks.

The college projected enrollment was going to increase by 1% or 2%, but it skyrocketed by 8% this semester, which has made finding a parking spot more difficult. OW has seen an increase in enrollment that the school has never seen before. More than 660 students have joined the school as freshmen and the school has more than 4,900 students on campus. There was also a surge in students who registered late.

For the first three weeks of the semester, SUNY OW President Calvin O. Butts, III has kept the students updated on the parking issues through a series of emails. On Sept. 6, he suggested the faculty should “excuse tardiness among students.” On Sept. 12, Dr. Butts said parking permits weren’t needed for the fall semester. Those who paid for a parking permit were issued a refund.

While the parking issues have been a problem thus far, Old Westbury has opened other parking lots as options for the students. On the college website, Old Westbury detailed the parking issues and where Parking lot B is located. Along with that, Old Westbury suggested students who park should give themselves extra time to arrive at the New Academic Building.

“On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, SUNY Old Westbury opened Parking Field B as a solution to the parking crunch. Parking Field B is expected to be in use for the remainder of the fall semester. Situated near the Gatehouse/Gate B Entrance to the College from the Westbound Long Island Expressway Service Road, Parking Field B will utilize an open field located on the southern end of campus. Those who park in this location should plan to use an additional 20-30 minutes to allow for shuttle bus service to the New Academic Building.” These shuttles are provided by, an independent company.

From Monday through Thursday, there are four shuttle buses to transport students from Parking Field B to the New Academic Building. On the negative side, the last bus leaves at 5:45 p.m. on those days. Old Westbury has recommended students not park in Parking Field B  if they have classes after 5:30 p.m. An additional 30 parking spots were created on the tennis courts near the Student Union.

The parking issues have sparked mixed reactions. For example, Tyler Riebl, a student,  was pleased that the shuttles run at a steady pace. “They refunded the parking, which is pretty good, and the shuttles go pretty fast,” Riebl said.

On the other hand, it does frustrate him that he has to plan his schedule around the school not being adequately prepared.

“I just don’t like not knowing where to park because I’m sort of very uncertain whenever I get to campus if I can park in a certain place,” Riebl continued.“That does frustrate me that I have to take time out of my schedule to accommodate for their unpreparation [sic] for the new students and the Excelsior scholarship.”

Another student said she feels the parking lot is “more secure” since there are attendants. The student also said the shuttles are quick and she didn’t have to wait long for the shuttle since it was already there when her class finished.

With the increase in enrollment for the fall semester, there is a possibly the student population will remain the same in the near future.The administration has explored adding more options for parking.

The college administration is presently reviewing a variety of options to ease the parking challenges on campus, for both short and long term use,” said Chief of University Police Steven Siena. He added that parking permits are going to return in the future, but it’s “premature to speculate about the time frame.”

Michael Kinane, assistant to the president for advancement, said the school planned on adding an additional 250-600 spots. He did not say when the project would be completed.