parking_covid

A total of 2,558 parking passes were returned to parking services in September.

Despite JMU’s refunds for year-long parking passes earlier this semester, new parking permit options are available with the return of in-person classes at JMU on Oct. 5. 

In an email sent out Sept. 28, parking services said the new options to purchase include a $70 permit valid through Nov. 20 — the last day of school before Thanksgiving break — and a $113 permit valid through Jan. 15. Both types can be purchased as a commuter or resident permit. Field Operations Manager for Parking Services Ben Lundy said the options were made available for students who don’t plan on returning to campus after Nov. 20.

When classes moved online, students were offered the option of returning their permit to parking services for a full refund. Lundy said that when they offered the permit refunds, they processed a total of 2,558 returns of the 6,640 students who had parking passes.

“It was up to the individual student whether they wanted to return their permit based on their own circumstances,” Lundy said.

Lundy said that 1,242 permits have been sold as of Oct. 7.

The permits valid through Nov. 20 have to be printed and displayed on the dashboard, while the semester permits are the same stickers as usual. Permits purchased at the beginning of the semester that weren’t returned before the transition to online classes remain valid.

Sarah Holz, a junior nursing major, returned her parking pass for a full refund in September. She said she sought out a refund because she “wasn’t sure if students would get to come back or if we would be required to buy a new one.” 

In order to return the pass, she had to scrape the sticker off her car and bring it to the parking service’s office.

“I thought money-wise, it would make the most sense to return it,” Holz said. 

Despite now having to buy a new pass, she said she still thinks it was a good idea for JMU to allow refunds and would’ve done it regardless of returning to in-person instruction.

A limited number of permits are available to freshmen on a first-come, first-served basis in order to make it easier for freshmen to be able to leave campus. The price and length of time for the permits are the same as all other student parking permits.

“Understanding that families face an unusual set of circumstances this year, we felt it was important to provide increased flexibility in their transportation options so that they can make arrangements for students to return to and depart from campus,” Lundy said.

With these permits, only available for the fall semester, freshmen can park in lots R2 and R10 on Port Republic Road. 

Opinion | Freshmen should be allowed to have a car on campus

Freshman undecided major Joshua Brewington said he wished that the university allowing freshmen to have parking permits was a permanent change. 

“If we were allowed to have a car, it would just make things so much easier,” Brewington said. “We could leave whenever we want.”

While Brewington said he won’t be getting a pass, he said that the change is a great idea because it’d make “everything more convenient.”

All parking regulations return to normal Oct. 8, so students who have in-person classes and want to park on campus need to have a parking permit by that date or they may be ticketed.

With in-person classes returning and some remaining virtual, students have been given the choice to decide if they want to buy a new parking permit.

“Without a car and parking pass, it’s really hard to get around,” Brewington said.

Contact Eda Tercan at tercanea@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.