Our Opinion: Mayor Courtright plays parking favorites in Scranton

Cars+driven+by+Marywood+University+students+are+still+being+found+in+Crowley+Park+despite+the+city%27s+threats.

Photo credit/ Photo Credit/ Patrick Kernan

Cars driven by Marywood University students are still being found in Crowley Park despite the city’s threats.

The Wood Word, Editorial Staff

On Aug. 27, Marywood University students and faculty received an email from Michael Finegan, chief of campus safety for the university. The email stated that Mayor Bill Courtright of Scranton informed Marywood that parking spaces at Crowley Park were only for those using the park.
“Marywood students and employees parking in Crowley Park will be subject to ticketing and towing,” Finegan stated in his email.
It’s no secret that finding parking on campus, at times, is a challenge. Understandably so, especially of late with the construction of the Learning Commons and subsequent lot closures. What is not understandable is the City of Scranton’s intentions to bring punitive actions to students for parking in Crowley Park.
Crowley Park is not the only city park plagued by unauthorized vehicles. It is not uncommon to see patients and employees of the nearby Geisinger-Community Medical Center walking back and forth to their cars, parked in Nay Aug Park, the largest park in Scranton. Students from the University of Scranton even take the long walk from their campus to Nay Aug. In addition to this, numerous construction vehicles and supplies take up one of Nay Aug’s parking lots, essentially converting it into a construction staging area.
There is an old saying that goes, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Crowley Park is undeniably far smaller than Nay Aug Park, yet if GCMC patients and employees can freely park their cars in one city park, it is blatant hypocrisy that Marywood University employees and students cannot do the same in another city park.
Many Marywood students and faculty are residents of the City of Scranton and, as such, pay taxes to the city. This means that, at the very least, any Scranton resident has as much right to Crowley Park, and its parking spots, as any other resident of the City, regardless of their involvement with Marywood University.
Of course, barring requirement of proof of residence at the entrance of the park, there is no way to ensure that only residents of Scranton are taking up parking spaces at the park. But, this is why it is a public park. Residents of Scranton pay taxes to ensure that city parks, including Crowley Park, are kept open to all people, whether or not they are native Scrantonians.
The City of Scranton has no real responsibility when it comes to the parking woes at Marywood University. It is not the city’s problem to fix, especially since only part of the university is in Scranton, with the rest being in Dunmore.
But attempting to block university faculty and students from a public park is nothing short of prejudice against the people of Marywood University, and it implies that the city feels that we are a bit of a nuisance in Green Ridge that needs to be contained in its own parking lots.
Remember, Mayor Courtright: ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.’ If Marywood students cannot use the parking spots in Crowley Park, it is only reasonable to expect that University of Scranton students, GCMC patients, staff, and construction workers will no longer park at Nay Aug.