Campus parking system requires more attention, reform

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Though Occidental should be proud to have free parking, there is a substantial amount of inefficiencies related to the parking system. Free parking is without a doubt much appreciated by the Occidental community, but the current parking system contains several flaws that could certainly be improved through simple, calculable measures.

Although parking is not a guarantee, all students and faculty should be able to find parking on campus property. As it stands, many students who live off-campus cannot find parking in the morning. Part of this reason rests in that with the construction on campus, many workers have been parking their cars in the designated parking lots, leaving very few spots for students. But they are not just parking in general parking. Most are parking in student spots near Newcomb without parking permits. As a result, students are forced to park further off-campus, despite having parking permits for on-campus, which can make it very difficult to both find a convenient (and legal) spot and get to class on time.

Furthermore, when an event is occurring on campus, the front lot and sometimes many of the blocks around campus shut down. Students are left with nowhere to park within a reasonable distance of campus. The number of events seems to be increasing and thus students have no where to park quite frequently, which would not be harmful if students knew ahead of time. Walking a few blocks to school would not be a problem if students left enough time to get to campus in time for obligations, and it would be easy to send out an email notifying students what lots would be shut down and when.

But the issue is larger than students simply being late to class or having to walk an extra block. Driving around the 120 acre campus wastes gas and is bad for the environment.

One possible solution to the parking issue is to charge a small fee for parking each year. If students are paying for it, then it seems that they can and should demand that there are enough parking spaces for them. Or perhaps students could decide whether they want to pay for parking, with the incentive being exclusive, “paid for parking” spots on campus. A payment system would also mean that fewer people would bring their cars, realizing that they do not really need them at such a small campus. Revenue from parking fees could be sent directly to the Environment Sustainability Fund.

Another bold idea may be assigning student-only parking lots. Assigning sections would mean that students could not drive from one side of campus to the other to get food or hang out with their friends, which would be helpful for the environment and even convenient for students.

Combining these solutions or even just using one would dramatically help the parking situation at Occidental.

This editorial represents the collective opinion of the Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental Community.

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