Cruising for a solution to the College’s parking problems

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August 31, 2010

1:14 AM

It’s 1 a.m. A jet black night sky appears to be one with the tar road ahead of me, and my headlights pierce only slightly into the night before me. I have a cup of coffee in my cup holder, and the radio is playing softly. There are no other cars out on the road; it is just me and the near-endless possibilities of destinations to which the highway can take me to. It does not so much matter where I am going, but more that I can go there. My car is my freedom; it’s a part of me. Then I awake from my afternoon nap: It’s really 5:30 p.m, I am a freshman, and I am dismally stuck on campus.

That was one year ago. Now that I have my car here at college, I cringe at the notion of being stranded on campus without one. This new privilege has also given me a better understanding of how bad campus parking really is. I used to think that The College of William and Mary sought to pen students up because it has this notion that all students at the College are wild animals in need of domestication. I now understand that there really is no parking to accommodate all the students we have. This is a problem that needs to be addressed to ensure available transportation for all students at the College.

I’m not going to demand that the College immediately allocate large sums of money toward the construction of multi-level parking garages, however nice that would be, because we lack the resources to do so. I can’t be upset with the College for not being wealthy enough.

What is aggravating, and what I am upset with, however, is the apparent lack of initiative on the administration’s part to solve this issue. I not only want to know that all of the administrators are brainstorming to find a real solution, but also that they are working to get one implemented as soon as possible. The student body needs to hear from the administrators that they know that this is an important issue for us, and that they are working on it today to try to figure it out. That they remain silent indicates that they don’t see the parking problem as an immediate issue. Even though the student body clearly feels there is a significant problem with the current parking policy.

The Student Assembly, on the otherhand, has been working quite diligently on behalf of the student body, but how much can it really do? The student car-sharing program sounds promising and will definitely be beneficial for freshmen were it to be implemented, but it does not address the root of the problem.

Perhaps, like fraternity housing problems and the idea of a late-night cafe, the student parking issue is an issue that requires a long term solution. If that is the case, so be it. There are, however, some temporary solutions that can be implemented; such as allowing upperclassmen to give their parking permits to underclassmen, moving all the freight containers and miscellaneous junk out of the William and Mary Hall parking lot, creating incentives for off-campus students to register as carpoolers, or making the criteria for underclassmen to obtain on-campus parking permits more lenient. Maybe — and don’t shoot me — one of the fields by the fraternity units could be converted into more student parking.

It’s not a lot, but at least these small changes would provide some relief to our current crisis.

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