Every day, students complain about the high cost of parking tickets that are generously issued and the lack of convenient parking spaces. Because of this, the Students’ Association last week announced several changes in an attempt to make parking on campus convenient and more affordable. Now students with permits are allowed to start parking at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. and are able to stay there for an extra half-hour the following morning. In addition, permits for farther away lots like Park Lot South and NSRL will cost $75 less.
Although these changes mark the beginning of reform, they are hardly enough, and fail to address the root issue. The problem cannot be remedied by these few minimal changes – an extra hour and a half of parking time and a discount that will be lost to ticketing anyway. The actual core of this issue is that the parking lots on campus are not sufficiently large enough to suit the student body. Students who are ticketed for breaking the rules – parking in fire lanes, for instance – realize they are doing so on purpose. The fact that students are willing to gamble on not being caught signifies how parking fails. Parking in the distant lots is unsuitable, especially in the winter. Parking close gets expensive and competitive.
The solution for this is not rewarding students for parking away – the solution is to narrow the commute. The university could, for example, provide a shuttle between distant lots and the campus. And by shuttle, we mean something that runs regularly and often, not a bus with awkward times arriving once an hour. Not only would such a solution rectify the distance problem, but also it would ease student concerns about security, knowing that they will not have to walk a long way home in the dark. A shuttle is not necessarily the only solution, just an option that the university could take the time to investigate.
The Senate has made one small step for college kids – now they need to take a giant leap for college kind.