This semester the University entered a long, inconvenient period of on-campus construction, which will eventually result in two major advancements: a new home for the Warner School of Education and a new upperclassman dorm next to Towers. Once these projects are completed, the University will also begin constructing the new building for the recently created Digital Media major. These facilities will, of course, be very beneficial to UR. However, they will likely lead to a very different kind of inconvenience upon completion. Because, as the University works hard to progress its public profile and the facilities of the River Campus, it continues to overlook one of its most frustrating and continuing problems: the lack of public parking on campus.
Long before there was any talk of expansion, the scarcity of public parking was a popular issue for members of the University community. These concerns don’t just come up during times like Meliora Weekend, when the campus is flooded with more people than it could ever conveniently accommodate. It’s something that comes up just about anytime there is an event that draws visitors to UR, even on regular school days when students are often inconvenienced by the lack of available spaces near places they regularly go.
The University has long prided itself on its small, tight-knit River Campus, but even then, parking has always been an issue. Now that UR is taking such serious steps to expand its campus and its student body, it’s strange that there seems to be no intention of expanding public parking along the way, especially since the two current projects are specifically designed for students who need parking the most: upperclassmen and graduate students.
There are several possible ways to extend on-campus parking — perhaps the most plausible method would be turning the Library Lot and/or parts of Intercampus Drive Lot or Park Lot into parking garages, which would open the University up to many new visitors while not taking up any additional space on campus. However this venture would be executed, the expansion of public parking is an essential, complementary component of the University’s plan. As UR works to be an ever-greater presence in the Rochester community, it cannot overlook the common conveniences necessary for its own community. After all, whenever the University receives an influx of visitors, you’ve never heard them complaining about how there aren’t enough buildings on campus.