Dorm parking a mess

By By Matt Plummer

By Matt Plummer

Transportation and parking discussions have been rampant at the U this year. There are traffic jams, stalled shuttles and a broad misunderstanding of what is going on with all the construction. There is one thing that has been overlooked8212;Residence Hall parking. It is one of the U’s rarely discussed problems.

Many states have their universities in smaller cities. Because the U is located in Salt Lake City, campus is more often commuted to and less residential. This is fine, but many of those who live in the Residence Halls have no need for a car.

I moved to Utah for athletic reasons. In doing so, I spend half of my day in Kearns. When arriving back at Chapel Glen from Kearns, a lot of my time was spent parking my car in far-off parking lots and walking to my room because dorm residents let their cars sit idle for weeks in the parking lot adjacent to my building.

“The Parking Advisory Committee at the U has noticed this situation and brings up the issue occasionally in meetings,” said Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services. “Alternative transportation to campus is encouraged, but does not want to discourage driving by means that inconvenience people.”

It is nice to see Allred encouraging alternative transportation, but it would also be nice to see some type of rule passed that would limit those with a permanent address nearby in the Salt Lake Valley from parking in the lot of their Residence Hall.

Stanford University bans all first-year students from having a car. The Stanford University Parking and Transportation Services website says, “Parking restrictions have been applied to freshmen, as it is our belief that they will be least impacted by this policy. Freshmen are required to live in residence halls with board plans, and any freshman who needs a job may obtain one on campus.” A ban on all first-year students having a car and forcing them to live on campus is too much at the U, but if Stanford can still function with strict rules, we can at least have moderate ones.

While living on campus, all necessary essentials are close by, so there would be few and specific reasons for needing a car. There are legitimate reasons for residents from local neighborhoods needing a car, and exceptions can be made. Work, school trips or a form of disability would be examples of what might qualify. Exceptions included in Stanford’s policy ensure, “Students who can demonstrate a compelling need or who would suffer undue hardship under this policy can apply for a waiver.”

Keeping a car on campus just to get back and forth from home on the weekends, late-night trips to Taco Bell or driving to class is a waste of space that could be better used by out-of-state students and others who have nowhere to leave their car but the Residence Halls.

Joe Harber, a senior in engineering said, “During my time in Chapel Glen, I usually had to park in the outdoor recreation parking lot or south of Sage Point and walk to my dorm.” A 10-minute walk isn’t the issue8212;it’s that those who are from areas close to the U are taking up space crucial to others.

With the congestion at the U, parking issues are more than apparent. Implementing a ban on parking permits for people who have a permanent address within a given radius from the U and reside in the Residence Halls would be acceptable. A ban wouldn’t exclude legitimate reasons for having a car; this can even include temporary permits. Simply put, if you don’t need a car, leave it at home.
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