Some students at the School of Law, Sanford School of Public Policy and Fuqua Business School now have to walk a little further from their parking spots.
Due to ongoing construction of a new track, graduate students and law school faculty that used to park in the Whitford lot—located between Sanford and the law school—must now park in the Blue Zone. Although 176 spots have been taken away due to the construction project, gravel lots have been constructed both in the Blue Zone and near the Al Buehler trail to compensate said Sam Veraldi, director of Duke Parking, Housekeeping and Transportation.
"Construction in Whitford parking has really put a damper on a lot of law students' abilities to park close to school," said Ben Shellhorn, a Graduate and Professional Student Council student life co-chair and second-year J.D./M.B.A. candidate.
Construction-related parking difficulties are not new for graduate students, Shellhorn said, noting that parking spaces have previously been taken away from the Green Zone for construction on soccer fields.
Stephanie Reist, an MPP-PhD candidate in Latin American studies, noted that the parking changes have caused her to worry about personal safety.
“If you’re kind of here all day…it could be kind of dangerous getting back there,” Reist said.
She added that the walk from Sanford to the new parking structures is not particularly well lit.
Shellhorn said law school students are prone to studying late into the evening, and a walk to the Blue Zone may be uncomfortable at such an hour.
"Students at the law school are notorious bookworms," Shellhorn said.
Reist also considered the impact that this change might have on all students, noting that it could be particularly difficult for those with a physical disability.
“If you had any sort of physical disability…that could be a real problem, just finding a spot that’s even remotely close,” Reist said.
Shellhorn said that a group of law students approached their dean with concerns about the closure of the Whitford lot. After speaking with Duke Parking and Transportation, many students had their parking privileges restored. Although they have the permission to park in the Whitford lot, there are not enough spaces to make this feasible for all who have lost their spots.
Abigail Probert, a graduate student representative on the Academic Council's Transportation Advisory Committee and a Ph.D. candidate in Slavic and Eurasian Studies, declined to comment.
Still, not all graduate students have been effected, Shellhorn said, noting that graduate students who park in the Chemistry lot and those with Blue Zone passes have not experienced any change in their parking privileges.