The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Columnist: Parking proves difficult

Parking has been a hot topic on this campus since I first came here four years ago, and it is still an issue that is a headache for all.

Any student who drives to school in the morning knows that it is almost impossible to find a good parking spot close to campus. You either end up deep in the Third Ward or anxiously waiting in a line of cars for someone to leave so that you can nab their spot.

“Any student who drives to school in the morning knows that it is almost impossible to find a good parking spot close to campus.”

It is hard to point a finger at any one person and say he or she is the reason this problem has not been taken care of. It is difficult because campus officials make efforts to solve problems, but is it enough? Do they just create more problems?

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The issue is there just isn’t any land near campus that is available for parking. There could be more parking behind Davies but that would mean we would have to sacrifice the trees and the tiny stream. And I, for one, would rather walk than see that happen. When trying to solve the parking dilemma, other problems arise.

The parking office has tried to do things to solve the problem, such as issuing more parking permits and violations. The only thing that more parking permits would do is increase the number of people hunting for spots that are not available. And more violations are just taking more money away from an already over-taxed student body.

They also have added different bus routes to the campus transit system. There are nine stations around campus where you can pick up bus schedules, but most students miss the bus in their rush out the door. The bus service also advertises in a few select places, but they are poorly placed and most people miss those too.

Taking a bus is a great idea, but the service needs more advertising so students know about it. If they made an issue of this and urged students to find other ways to school, it would help with this problem. Since we live in the Internet age, why not send an e-mail to all students suggesting alternatives to driving to school?

The university has plans to add more parking for the resident halls on upper campus. If things go smoothly, there will be a new parking lot where the former Horan Hall basketball courts used to be. Don’t worry basketball fans, there will be a new court erected near the tennis courts.

Sure, that is great for the residence halls, but what about the off-campus drivers and visitors who come to this campus? That is where the real problem lies, and the university is doing nothing to create more parking.

The only solution to this problem that I can see is to build a multi-level parking garage that could accommodate all students’ vehicles and satisfy all parties concerned. They could build it between Schneider Hall and Zorn Arena. Maybe they could add it to the addition proposal for Davies Center and kill two birds with one stone.

This seems logical, but the upper levels of the administration think it would be too expensive. It may be expensive, but in the long run it would pay for itself.

According to Gary Bartlett, the head of Parking and Transportation Services at the university, one reason most of our special events like forums, plays and sporting events don’t attract more people is because our school doesn’t have adequate parking. This also could be solved by the addition of a parking ramp. A parking ramp also would bring money to the university for charging people to park in there.

“S” Spaces in
Campus Parking Lots

September 2003 averages
Water Street Haas Phillips McPhee
Total spots available
421…………….224………171………15
Spots available at 8:15 a.m.
338……………163…………0…………5
Spots available at 10:15 a.m.
62………………27………… 0………..0
Spots available at 12:15 p.m.
84……………….36………….3………..1
Spots available at 2:15 p.m.
112……………. 41………….14……….2

– Parking and Transportation Services

Students also add to the parking dilemma. The fact is, some students do not think of their fellow students. They park awkwardly, taking up two spaces when they require one. They also park too far away from the next car giving no thought to the boundaries that we must abide by. It is selfish and lazy. The next time you park, just take a couple of seconds to check out the parking job you did. If you see a problem, fix it so that we can all get to class on time.

Some students who live close to campus and can either walk or take the bus drive. Again, this shows laziness and they take up valuable spaces that could be used by people who don’t have the convenience of living near campus.

If you simply must drive, the Water Street and Haas Fine Arts lots are the biggest and have the most vacant spaces during the day. I know that these lots are a little farther away, but it’s not horrible. Make an effort to relieve the congestion and take one for the team.

The parking problem is something that we all have to deal with. Until the upper level UW System officials get a clue, we must help one another deal with the parking crisis.

Moore is a junior print journalism major and a copy editor of The Spectator.

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Columnist: Parking proves difficult