Lehigh Northside parking lot mystery partially explained (24)

(24th in a series of posts on Lehigh University)

Deep Throat surreptitiously (good SAT word) passed Gadfly a new document regarding the new Lehigh University parking plan that contains the following bullet:

  • There will be a commuter lot added on the SteelStacks/Sands property off of Third Street and Founder’s Way, and a shuttle serving this commuter lot. More details about the commuter lot will be shared with the campus community by the end of March. The university will be funding the cost of this space, so there will be no cost to the employee to use this lot.

So why the big mystery?

Why couldn’t Lehigh simply say, yes, Gadfly, we announced in September and said nothing different until this week that there would be a Northside Commuter lot but actually it’s a commuter lot on the southside now — 3rd and Founder’s Way.

Instead they played dumb, as if there were no off-site commuter lot, and got Gadfly’s pee all warm.

No doubt a good reason for stiffing me. No doubt above Gadfly’s pay grade. Big business.

In the recent document, Lehigh indicates they have made some changes. They indicate that the first come/first served system has been dropped, and people on lower campus seem assured now of parking close to their workspace. Sounds like “bumping” has been eliminated or diminished.

Lehigh is, of course, still silent about the contract workers — Sodexo, ABM, BrightView, etc. They are not Lehigh employees, and thus are not referenced, though they clearly must be affected by the parking reorganization, and are separated out as such in the Lehigh July 2018 parking study (p. 16 if my notes are correct).

The 3rd and Founder’s Way lot is 3/4’s of a mile from Farrington Square at the bottom of lower campus, about the same distance as the “mythical” Northside lot.

Thus, I still don’t have an answer to my basic question of what’s happening with this lower-paid group, at least some of whom no doubt are Bethlehem residents and taxpayers.

But even if they aren’t Bethlehem residents and taxpayers, are the lower-paid workers being, as it were, “forced” to suffer some hardship to park off-site because they can’t afford the parking fee?

Remember that Lehigh has made a conscious decision to build on parking lots, losing approx. 500 spaces.

I keep saying that there may be no problem, but I’d like somebody who has thought about these people to tell me so.

Lehigh obviously made changes in the original program because of legitimate concerns, stiff questions, and resistance from faculty and staff on campus.

The contract workers probably have no similar voice or power.

Are they being treated fairly?

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