I came back from Fall break to discover not a single parking space on the CAS campus. Complaints about parking are nothing new for Lewis & Clark, as availability is notoriously limited. Yet, though I have been frustrated with parking at this college in the past, I have to say I have never seen it as bad as it is now.
I live in the on-campus apartments, which have no designated parking lot, so it is already challenging to find a space that is reasonably close to my dorm. I have to walk, usually carrying all my bags, quite a ways. It makes grocery shopping very inconvenient. However, one day, I circled the parking lot around the apartments and found nothing; my plan was to park illegally in the fire lane to unload my stuff and then drive down to the stadium parking lot to find a spot.
Ten very frantic minutes and two unloading trips later, I drove down to the stadium, circled and found nothing. I went to the lower visitors parking lot, circled and found nothing. At that point, I was very angry and upset when finally on the graduate campus through Gate 8, I found parking, which meant another rather long walk to my dorm.
I know parking last year was particularly difficult last year as there was construction going on. And I know that I willingly chose to go to LC and willingly chose to bring my car, but I’m still upset. I pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to this school and I pay another few hundred to have a parking pass. So why is it that I don’t have a parking spot?
On the Campus Safety website when you go to purchase a parking permit, it forewarns you that “purchasing a parking permit does not guarantee you a spot.”
This is an infuriating policy. If one pays money for a service, one should receive that service. It’s not “you pay and you may get it;” you should be guaranteed to get what you pay for.
So my simple solution is why not sell as many permits as there are student parking spots? I understand it is extremely difficult to reserve spots and that’s not what needs to happen. It’s just that there needs to be the same number of parking passes as spots. That’s what my high school did.
My high school was in an area surrounded by houses and had a small parking lot. They numbered each spot and then in the fall, when you registered for a parking permit, you got a plaque with a number that corresponded to a space. There was a caveat that the number on your plaque was not your parking space. The number meant nothing, but it was a way for the school to have exactly as many plaques as parking spaces so that they knew when the physical plaques ran out, so did the parking spaces. I am just a girl, standing in front of her college asking them to do something similar.
This seems far more fair to everybody. And at least, if you do not get a parking permit, you are not wasting several hundred dollars and can plan other accommodations in advance. I think that it is unfair that LC stands to profit off my money when I potentially get nothing out of it. Because currently, it is a probable scenario that in the future, there will not be parking on the CAS or Graduate campuses. And what will I do then? Waste the money I spent, I guess.
I am aware that I do not know the intricacies of campus parking. Campus Safety probably cannot patrol 24/7 for cars that are parked illegally or visitors that are parked in student parking or a million other things. Parking is hard on the side of a hill, and I have heard horrible parking stories from other colleges. Maybe that’s just life. But from where I’m standing, LC can do better.