SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Seton Hall University recently converted the lawn outside of the student center into a temporary parking lot in an effort to ease the parking shortage that has plagued the school since the start of the academic year.

Village President Alex Torpey said he believes that the new parking lot is an appropriate and important measure.

“Seton Hall using the lawn for parking was something both parties wanted, I think is fair to say,” he said. “It makes a big difference in alleviating the issues related to having too many cars to fit into SHU’s existing lots.”

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Campus administrators are struggling to accommodate the growing number of commuters in the university community while they begin expansion of school’s parking garage. Temporary measures are intended to keep the overflow of vehicles out of nearby South Orange neighborhoods.

The parking lot is only temporary, and should be gone within a year, according to university officials.

“We are hopeful that this new lot will solve the parking crunch until the new extension on the parking garage is built,” said Tracy Gottlieb, vice president for student services at Seton Hall.  “We have been working with South Orange authorities and are grateful to the village for their help. They have allowed the SHU community to park on Ward Place, asking only that we obey the village parking restrictions.”

These agreements were reached after the university’s parking overflow spilled into Tuxedo Park, creating a conflict between South Orange residents and university. After negotiations, village officials extended parking around the perimeter of campus, and the university took emergency steps to increase the number of parking spaces on campus.

“We will continue to monitor the parking situation and take additional steps if it becomes clear that we still need more spaces,” Gottlieb said.

Some students are unhappy about the lot.

“Students use the lawn,” said Brent Warn, a junior at Seton Hall.  “A lot of people play sports there, and there aren’t any other places like that on campus. It shouldn’t have had to come to this.”

Andrew Linder, a senior, expressed a similar opinion.

“They (Seton Hall) let too many students in,” he said.  “Housing filled up fast, and now there’s no parking on campus.  If they’re going to force people to commute they should at least have enough room for those people.”

The author is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.