Editorial Board: Parking survey incites

Editorial Board

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As last semester wrapped up to a close and students were hastily preparing themselves for final exams, one last email slipped into their university inboxes: an email the students wouldn’t soon forget and one that the department where it came from would most likely regret sending. As University of Toledo students, we can easily recognize when there is a problem on campus. This is a problem we’ve talked about many times and even wrote an editorial about early last fall. UT has a serious problem, and its name is Parking.

All commuter students complain about parking. What else are they supposed to do? UT is a commuter school and the number of parking spaces available to students doesn’t add up; there are just few too parking spaces on campus. When you have to arrive 30 minutes early in order to circle the parking lot 16 times before giving up, only to drive to a farther-away lot to park, the frustration begins to mount. The issue lies within a student’s desire to park somewhat near their classes. There are several different sections of commuter parking, but the number of spots compared to the demand is nowhere near equal.

Student (and probably staff) frustrations continue to grow as the semester goes on, and the daily struggle to find a parking spot endures. This all came to a very angry end last semester when UT’s Parking Services sent out an email containing a survey for students, faculty and staff to fill out. The email contained only three sentences, but it was enough to provoke many students across campus.

“As a student, faculty or staff member at The University of Toledo, we value your opinion as we work to implement a new approach to on-campus parking for the 2017-18 academic year. The new demand-based model aims to ease frustrations and congestion by redistributing parking around campus and provide students and employees with options for different levels of parking permits. Please help Parking Services by providing your input regarding parking on campus by completing this survey by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.”

Instantly after starting the survey, our own personal anger at the situation began to grow. The survey stated that parking services were considering providing parking permits at a higher price for specific lots during peak times. To us and many others, this solution is insane. UT shouldn’t be trying to profit off those students who can afford to pay for a reserved spot. UT’s parking, while the amount of it is lacking, is based on a first come, first serve basis. This model is how the world works.

By allowing those who can afford to pay for a $200-$400 parking pass per semester to do so, UT is putting all other students at a disadvantage. All commuter students would pay the higher cost if they could, if it meant they would have a guaranteed spot on campus. UT’s current price of $125 per semester doesn’t even allow us to have parking near main campus during peak hours.

The current parking situation turns us off from wanting to pay more for nothing more than a promise, especially when your seemingly only option is to continue circling another lot 16 times in pursuit of another ‘promised’ spot, if your previously sought-after lot is full.

UT students took to Twitter to voice their disappointment and anger at UT’s parking. “UT Parking just released a survey and I don’t think they understand the savagery they just subjected themselves to,” said one student. Another stated, “Only survey I’ll ever fill out for UT is this parking survey, if we don’t have 5 new parking lots next fall I’m quitting.” Obviously, students feel as though UT does not or will not listen to their frustrations and simply fix the problem.

Another part to the survey listed a possibility for a student hotline to call in tips about parking violations. Even though we could name eight vehicles in the parking lots right now that obviously don’t have a parking permit, this solution isn’t the way to fix the problem. Tattling on each other will just make more work for parking services and will pit students against each other, when they should be focusing most of their time and energy on classes and other important responsibilities. Students can be petty. We know that we’ve wanted to call in on that truck who takes up two spots, or that Michigan license plate that purposefully backed into a spot. But snitching on each other will not solve the issue at hand. And we all know that one kid who will take the power upon themselves, reporting each and every violation just so they can seem powerful and make a point about horrible parking jobs. Creating a hotline to call in and tell on each other for parking violations is not a feasible option for the university.

It makes us students happy to see that UT has tried to find a solution for what we believe is one of their largest faults. At the same time, we can’t believe that this is what they believe is the best fix. UT’s students deserve better. They deserve to spend more of their time focusing on classes and not getting discouraged by the daily battle of parking.

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Editorial Board: Parking survey incites