Red Tape, High Fees: Looking for Parking

For Dean of Undergraduate Education Susan G. Pedersen, where to park her car is the last thing on her mind at 8:20 a.m. as she rushes to make an 8:15 meeting.

Pedersen doesn't have a University-issued parking place, and despite her efforts to search for a spot on the street, she came up empty one morning last week. So she did the best she could, leaving her car on Quincy Street and hoping traffic cops wouldn't notice.

"By the time I went to retrieve it an hour and a half later, it had been towed," Pedersen says. "If it weren't that I feel that I ought to dress respectably, I'd just go back to biking."

Faculty parking complaints have a history.

In his 1963 book The Uses of the University, Clark Kerr, president emeritus of the University of California, wrote about trying times in higher education.

"The great administrative problems of the day were sex for the students, athletics for the alumni, and parking for the faculty," Kerr wrote.

Harvard is no exception. With an extensive set of rules and regulations, the Harvard parking office can keep faculty members wait-listed for parking spaces for so long that may simply give up.

Assistant Professor of Government Andrea Campbell says that after listing three Harvard parking lots as her top choices at the beginning of last year, she was told that all were full and the only free spaces were at the Business School, more than a little hike from her office. She has been waiting ever since.