The Nightmare That is Student Parking

Maddy Davis, Contributing Writer

One commonality among the University student body is the dread of Tuesday and Wednesday mornings: street cleaning days. Nothing replicates the rush of adrenaline and anger one feels when peaking outside their window early in the morning only to see P-safe parked beside their car, pulling out a ticket. Not to mention the hefty price of a ticket alone, often around $50-100, racks up a hefty strain on students’ finances and truly makes the price of mobility a costly one. 

Students living in affinity houses face an especially frustrating parking situation in light of street cleaning. Affinity houses like the Outhouse have street parking available to them, but find themselves consistently ticketed when moving their cars around to the back of their house during street-cleaning times. Where does the University expect them to park? Parking should be a convenient and accessible commodity on campus, not a major stressor in student’s lives. 

For students without access to a car – a demographic that includes a significant portion of the University population – campus is ever-more isolating in its lack of transport options. Students can often be spotted trekking across Highway 15 to Giant, just about the only walkable grocery store in the area, to stock up on toiletries, snacks and reasonably-priced school supplies. The Downtown shuttle is one of the only automobile transportation options available to first-years, and although it runs Monday through Friday, it often adds unnecessary travel time (given its multiple stops) to what would otherwise be a quick trip. Even so, this severely limits the freedom of travel to students as the shuttle only stops at its prescribed destinations, limiting many students’ capacity to maintain a consistent supply of living necessities. Currently, the best bets for traveling freedom hinge on either sneaking an unregistered car on campus or buddying up with someone with access to one. 

Students without access to cars, first-years and beyond, need more transportation options. Whatever happened to ZipCar? The University should make an effort to bring car sharing services back to campus in light of the lack of opportunity to travel freely, which would also decrease the likelihood of students smuggling unregistered cars back to campus. 

Moreover, while student parking passes are attainable for non-first years with vehicles, they seem to never quite align with student residence. Too many students find themselves walking upwards of ten minutes from their dorm to their assigned parking space, a futility on the part of student parking that takes unnecessary time from student’s busy schedules. 

To top it off, the uphill parking scene at the University is atrocious, for students and staff alike. There’s almost no point in driving to class when the time taken to find a parking space outweighs the commute itself. The likelihood of hearing a professor complain about having to find parking is high given the limited number of available spaces and the quick rate at which they fill up. Consequently, the intersection outside of the ELC has become a particularly volatile one in light of the rush to be on time to class and also find an open space. The University needs to invest in more uphill parking, we are just trying to get to class on time. 

University Parking is in desperate need of reform and with the costly price of attendance, and the University has an obligation to do better on their part.

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