If there is one thing that drives Lewis & Clark students up the wall, it is parking.
Ask anyone about their troubles concerning transportation to and from campus, and you will likely hear a variety of answers. First year students lament the fact that they are unable to have their own car on campus. Others have trouble with the lofty parking fees, or with the task of finding a spot at all, even after purchasing a parking permit. With ever-increasing freshman classes, the problem will likely only worsen as the school’s population grows. So now we ask the question on everyone’s minds: How is LC going to accommodate so many vehicles in such a limited space?
Luckily enough, the school has answered: a new measure proposes painting a line clean down the middle of each existing parking space, yielding two new and improved parking spaces in place of what was previously just one spot.
“I see no possible problems that could arise from this,” Ashley Marcus ’24 said, a student volunteer hired to assist the painting project in the school’s “trial zone,” known in wider circles as the Copeland parking lot. “It seems like simple math to me. Twice as many spaces, twice as much parking. I don’t know why we didn’t get around to this sooner.”
Of course, challenges always arise in response to cutting-edge innovation. Many students residing in the trial zone have voiced concerns about the ability of their personal vehicles to fit in the extremely cramped spaces.
“The parking spaces are half the size of my car,” Anna Frederick ’22 said, going on to argue that “it literally is not possible to park a car in them.” How, then, can the operation proceed while still ensuring maximum student satisfaction?
The answer is simple: smaller cars.
A followup measure, which will be finding its way to vehicle owners’ inboxes soon, requires that all students and staff who wish to park on campus acquire vehicles that fit within the new allotted perimeter.
Merrin Wilson ’22, a seasoned car-parker at LC, proposed his take on the new regulation.
“Here she is,” he said proudly, gesturing to his somewhat battered and furiously purple go-kart, its side emblazoned with the number four. “She’s never let me down before and she’s not gonna start now.”
Wilson says he “found” the vehicle on a late-night excursion to Oaks Amusement Park, and has been waiting to find an appropriately miniature spot to park it ever since. He is thrilled to finally have the opportunity to drive it around town and to arrive to campus in style.
When questioned about the limited legality of driving such vehicles on Portland highways, Wilson chuckled.
“It’s only illegal if you get caught,” Wilson said, tapping his nose knowingly. “And these bad boys go fast.”
Other students have taken to motorcycles, golf carts, bumper cars, and those extremely cool Razor scooters that shoot sparks when you step on the brakes.
“It’s definitely a change,” one anonymous student said while gently stroking the mane of the handsome mule she recently purchased to carry her between campus and her downtown barista job. “But I feel that we as a student body are remarkably adaptable. It’s one of the many virtues of a liberal arts education.”
Students pursuing Studio Art as a major or minor can swing by the Parking and Transportation office to volunteer to help with the paint job and receive extra credit.
“We’re going to need all the help we can get,” Marcus said. “And we’re going to need clean lines.”