In recent weeks, many students have noticed that their favorite shortcut to and from Goucher has been shut down. The gate on the side road leading onto Southerly Road is now closed 24/7 and shows no signs of being opened again anytime soon.
Richard Puller, Director of Public Safety, explains that there were several reasons that led Goucher to close the gate. “The side gate roadway was becoming a parking lot for Jimmy’s Cabs during the day. Visitors to the professional offices, the Sheraton, and Edenwald who did not want to pay to park in the garages over there opted to use our roadway and/or the Dorsey lot and walk to their appointments,” Puller said. Additionally, on the weekends people were parking in Dorsey lots and taking the shuttle downtown so that they did not have to pay for parking. There were maintenance issues with the visitors leaving cigarette and coffee debris behind, necessitating clean-up in those parking lots. It should also be iterated that the gate and the roadway is all Goucher’s property.
Puller noted that Goucher just finished a campus-wide Public Safety assessment conducted by an outside consulting team and they are in the process of waiting for the results to come in. “There is always room for improvement and we look to improve in every way from public relations and customer service to better controlling our outer and inner perimeters, i.e. the side gate,” Puller said. The gate is part of the holistic approach of looking at the safety and security of the entire campus.
Some students still feel inconvenienced by this recent change. “I have to go through two extra lights on the way home,” Maggie McCready ’16 and a commuter student lamented, “It’s very inconvenient especially since Goucher doesn’t mark it off so I end up driving down there and then having to turn around because it’s closed.”
Public Safety acknowledged that there have been some complaints but has also expressed surprise that none of the maintenance or supply trucks that used that shortcut have issued any complaints. Puller believes that the gate will most likely be closed for the remainder of the year, but may be opened on occasion for special events. Puller emphasized that the students always come first and has encouraged them to send him ideas for alternative solutions at any time. “We are exploring options. Someone may very well come up with a workable option or alternative. But for right now, I believe we are better off with it closed.”