Dalhousie prof quits over parking
Dan Middlemiss and hundreds of other Dalhousie staff and students lined up Monday to buy the first available parking passes.
After waiting for more than an hour, he decided instead to leave his profession of 31 years.
"For a guy like myself that lives in Lower Sackville, I have to get on the road around 6:30 to 7 to get an assured parking spot somewhere so I can get here to teach at 2:30 in the afternoon," said Middlemiss, an expert on Canadian defence policy.
"It's ridiculous, in my view, and the university just keeps pretending that it's not the problem that it is."
Middlemiss said parking has always been a problem at Dalhousie. But this time, he simply had enough.
"I went straight upstairs, I said, 'I'm not kidding this time, I don't have to put up with this. I'm resigning,'" he told CBC News.
Dalhousie, in south-end Halifax, has 2,000 parking spaces for 17,000 students and 3,000 employees.
The rush on passes comes as the university changes its selling policy.
Instead of overselling general passes by 65 per cent, it's now overselling by only 20 to 30 per cent. The idea is to have fewer people eligible for the same number of parking spots.
Dalhousie is selling 950 passes this week and will sell the rest next Monday when more students arrive on campus.
Some students and staff who waited in line on Monday told CBC News the system was disorganized and a "mess."
Middlemiss said some people waited for four hours. When it was coming up on his turn, people in line were told all the passes for the day had been sold and they should come back Tuesday.
University officials said they didn't anticipate the long lineup.
"It's unfortunate," said Ken Burt, vice-president of finance and administration. "We've been selling these parking passes for a number of years and this is the busiest we've ever seen them."
Dalhousie has been grappling with a parking space shortage for some time.
The school plans to turn one of its largest lots into a reserved parking area for about 200 drivers and install more than 100 new bike racks.
There is also a long-term plan in the works that calls for more bike racks, bus passes for staff and a large parking garage.
Middlemiss said he understands that a large university like Dalhousie has parking issues, but he believes other schools have dealt with it better over the years.
Until a little while ago, he noted, people living a few blocks away from Dalhousie could get a parking pass just like those who live several kilometres away.
Middlemiss considered other options but ruled them out. He said it takes him 20 minutes to get to the Metro Transit parking lot to take a bus, but even that parking lot is often full and there are no parking passes.
He said he learned fast that the one way to find a parking space is to get up earlier than everyone else.
Now, however, parking at Dalhousie is no longer a concern.
"Luckily, I don't have to put up with it," he said.