Shifting gears: Additional parking is the ticket to solving default woes

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October 31, 2011

10:28 PM

One of the biggest complaints about the College of William and Mary is the significant lack of parking on campus. Even though the College severely limits the number of undergraduate students who are allowed to bring cars to campus, the simple fact remains that there is just not enough parking on campus. While the College has its history and its tradition, its community and its personality, what it doesn’t have is enough parking spaces to accommodate students.

We can’t exactly blame the College — back in 1693, they didn’t need to worry about cars. But parking services can’t really point the finger at us, either. Our philosophy goes something like this: Can’t find a spot? Make one. Unfortunately for students, this philosophy normally results in a ticket.

Basic parking tickets at the College can run from $10 to $110, and further transgressions have an even steeper price. Even to non-students, that isn’t so cheap.

A whopping 25 percent of parking tickets on campus go unpaid. As far as students go, many feel they have committed no offense and simply disregard the ticket. Although parking services maintains that past-due fines will result in an “administrative hold” on the students’s account, this threat doesn’t seem to be solving the problem. Some college students would gladly take the hold rather than fork over funds from their dwindling cash stash.

Furthermore, students probably are not responsible for many of these outstanding parking tickets. It’s more likely that family visitors and Williamsburg tourists are the real perpetrators. Perhaps the guilt even lies with the faculty sometimes. These groups have even less incentive to pay their parking tickets than students because they do not have accounts upon which the administration can place a hold.

There appears to be only one sensible solution to this parking dilemma: to create new and legal spaces. That way we would have fewer tickets to pay and as a result, fewer tickets on which to default.

The entire campus could benefit from added parking. It potentially could allow all undergraduates to bring vehicles to school. All we need is some pavement and paint. The administration could either expand the William and Mary Hal lot or build a parking garage closer to Old Campus.

The school could finance the construction of additional lots with the revenue collected from the 75 percent of parking tickets that are paid. It only makes sense to put the money toward solving the original problem. Some may argue that we should just further enforce our parking tickets, but why not resolve the issue rather than about it?

The creation of additional parking spots on campus would not just sidestep the parking woes on campus — it would be a step toward solving the problem of parking at the College.

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