Letter to the Editor: Response to Parking Poses Perpetual Problems


By The Daily

On September 10th, the Chronicle published a piece arguing the University’s parking pass program is too expensive and provides an inadequate number of spaces.

The author writes, “I wonder where all the parking pass money is going.” As it turns out, research in urban planning has the answer to that question: parking. Although $240 is a large expense for many students, it represents a deep subsidy over the true cost imposed on the University by students who commute by car.

The University’s own Bicycle Master Plan estimates the cost per commuter coming by car at $3,000. That represents a full $2,760 subsidy—a cost born by the state and students who choose to commute by alternative means. I chose the University over an out-of-state institution to save money, and that subsidy is less than $400 shy of my full-time tuition this semester. Students like myself should not be forced to bear even greater costs to make parking more comfortable for those already receiving a nearly $3,000 discount.

The University provides support for students and employees who use more sustainable and cost-effective commute options, particularly in the form of UTA transit passes. If you don’t live near a station, UTA’s website lists 38 bus and rail stations with free parking in locations from Provo to Pleasant View and many points in between.

Our transit, bicycle, and pedestrian situations on campus aren’t perfect. However, the astronomical cost of parking is a call to improve those options, not one for more unsustainable, costly parking.

Maria Olsen

Student at the University of Utah