Last week’s Students’ Association election included a poll that showed strong student support for tiered parking fees dependant on the distance of parking lots from the center of the River Campus. While this change is certainly better than the existing fee structure, it does not address the fundamental problem with student parking. On a campus where the average walk to class, Wilson Commons, the library or a friend’s room is only a few minutes, the trek out to most parking lots is too far to be a frequent occurrence.
The distance from campus to parking areas discourages students from going off campus, and as a result, students foster a mentality that getting off campus is not worth the hassle. If access to cars was easier, students would be much more inclined and more easily motivated to get off campus to volunteer, shop, work, eat, and relax.
The River Campus is far too beautiful to pollute with asphalt or parking garages. Instead, the solution, which is much less expensive and far simpler to implement, is the implementation of UR-operated, frequent and reliable shuttle service. A shuttle system consisting of one shuttle that loops the River Campus would alleviate many of the current parking qualms. The key to success is that the shuttle circulates on a consistent basis during all hours of the day so that students do not have to memorize complicated schedules or plan their activities around infrequent or sporadic busses. A shuttle would also reduce the number of parking tickets issued to students, as students would be less likely to park illegally if they knew they would be able to quickly get to their cars. A shuttle system would also protect the safety of students who are parking in UR lots, as some lots require long, lonely walks which can seem quite unfriendly late at night.
In a time when getting off campus is an essential part of college life, and in a city where there is much to do outside of the borders of UR, a shuttle system could be a very effective solution to a serious and prevalent student complaint.