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Parking Changes for 2014

Fuller Explanation of New Parking Permit and Related Changes

Swarthmore College is committed to implementing as sustainable a parking and transportation program as we can - one that helps us avoid, as much as possible, building new parking structures on existing green space.  To do this, we need to better understand our parking demand, something that is not possible with the current permit system.

Faculty and staff parking permit changes were originally recommended by the Parking and Transportation Master Plan Advisory Committee (PTMP). The PTMP's work along with the community's response to the initial draft plan led to the creation of the Transportation and Parking Committee (TPC), which is comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Due to the pressing need to understand our parking space demand, the new TPC was charged with immediately implementing the use of a new parking permit system for faculty and staff members.  In response to community feedback, the permits will be available free of charge. TPC is also charged with reallocating visitor parking spaces, reviewing the earlier transportation and parking studies and resulting proposal, considering whether a permit charge will be necessary in the future, and studying all the transportation and parking issues in more depth.  The committee will create multiple opportunities for additional community discussion. The TPC will present a revised Transportation and Parking Master Plan for consideration by the community and then for final decision by the Steering Committee. 

The research of the PTMP and Change Management Associates (CMA) indicated that the College has an adequate number of parking spaces for our number of faculty and staff employees, even with projected growth.  Still, there are times when most employee spaces are full. The research also indicated that significant number of guests, visitors and other non-employees park in faculty-staff parking spaces during the day. 

After studying the preceding work and recommendations, the TPC agrees that the best way to determine the need more precisely is to issue one new permit per current employee and to separate the visitors into designated visitor parking.  The College can make sure that visitors and invited guests are given a warm welcome and a free place to park.  At the same time, we can ensure that other non-employees - commuters taking advantage of the College's free parking, students without a parking permit, etc. - no longer take up valuable faculty and staff parking places.

The new permit system does not change the current Parking Rules and Regulations, but there will be increased enforcement. Swarthmore College parking rules and regulations are available online at In addition to the required new parking permits, there will be increased enforcement of areas where parking is prohibited, including loading docks, driveways and the East and West Parrish Circles. Faculty and staff members must park between two white lines in designated faculty and staff spaces, and may not park in visitor spaces, student spaces, spaces signed for other users, or in other prohibited spaces.  The parking permit is not a guarantee of an available parking space.

If you feel you have a valid reason for a temporary exception to the parking regulations, please discuss your request with Mary Lou Lawless at 610-328-8671 before you park.  Permission for a temporary parking exception will not be granted retroactively.

Parking violations, depending on seriousness of the offense, will result in a parking fine of $10 to $100, booting, towing, and/or the suspension of the employee's use of the College's parking facilities.  Do not expect parking fines or penalties to be waived.

All campus visitors will be directed to park in the Benjamin West lot, including prospective students and their families. The area of the Benjamin West parking lot north of the driveway will be restricted to visitors only. Visitors are not required to obtain a visitor permit to park on campus.  Visitors will be allowed to park in faculty-staff parking lots, including the DuPont lots, on weekends and after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

For the time being, the area of the Benjamin West parking lot south of the driveway will continue to be used for faculty and staff member parking.  Public Safety and the TPC will monitor and analyze the use of the Benjamin West parking lot, and over time may adjust the assignment of those spaces.

Students with permits may continue to park only in their assigned spaces, signed for student permits.  Students without permits are not allowed to park anywhere on campus at any time.  Students without permits are not considered visitors and may not park in visitor spaces.

The parking system is also changing for affiliated non-employees who serve the College, including volunteers, contractors, vendors, and service providers.  For more information on affiliate parking, contact Public Safety.