Students stopped driving their cars as frequently on campus this year is due to the various parking problems that have surrounded the Bethlehem area. The 500 block of Montclair Avenue was one of the few streets near Lehigh that had free parking. (Courtesy of Google maps)

Free parking eliminated on 500 block of Montclair Avenue due to residents’ request

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The 500 block of Montclair Avenue was one of the few streets near Lehigh that had free parking. 

Recently, the Bethlehem Parking Authority changed this policy to two-hour parking, unless residents purchase a permit. This new policy has caused various problems for students living off campus. 

Luz Vega, residential permit parking coordinator of Bethlehem Parking Authority, said this policy was enacted by request of Bethlehem residents. 

“We took the request of the residents and had this new policy approved on October seventh,” Vega said.

Vega said if residents want to be exempt from the two-hour parking zone, then they have to purchase a permit. 

Enrique Gaytan, ‘20, has been personally affected by this new parking policy. Gaytan said this change in parking policy has made driving his car at Lehigh more difficult. 

“I’m going to either continue to search for parking in Warren Square or by the New Street parking garage, but there aren’t many options for me,” Gaytan said. “I know I can purchase a commuter permit since I am an off-campus student, but that doesn’t help me since the commuter lot at Mountaintop (Campus) is too far up.” 

Gaytan said as a result of the change, parking at Warren Square is more competitive and slims the chance of finding a parking spot. This policy has also lessened the availability of free parking for off-campus students. 

Free parking is no longer guaranteed, even with a permit, Gaytan said.

“This has made me reconsider bringing my car to campus next semester,” he said. 

While this policy has affected some students who live on Montclair Avenue or park on the street, other students don’t share the same concerns because they have other options.

Mustaffa Said, ‘20, is another student on Montclair Avenue who commutes around campus using his car. 

“Since I have a driveway that comes with my house, this new policy has not personally affected me,” he said. “However, last year, I relied on the street parking on Montclair because my old house did not have a driveway. I can empathize with the people who are affected by this issue because the free parking made mobilizing around campus so much easier for me last year.”

Said said one of the reasons he stopped driving his car as frequently on campus this year is due to the various parking problems that have surrounded the Bethlehem area. 

He said he believes a solution to this problem is making the Lehigh and Bethlehem community aware of this new policy. 

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