Thursday, August 22, 2019

Scarcity of 24-hour parking on campus angers students


Receiving two parking tickets within a two-day time span has made me aware of an inexcusable scarcity of 24-hour student parking on.

I live in Jarvis so my primary criticism is centered on Summit Street parking. Here, there are two parking lots with the capacity for roughly 60 cars. This number, though, pales in comparison to the triple-digit number of spots that line the west side of the road. However, in both cases these spots are restricted to students between 5AM and 7PM during the week, amounting to 160 spots.

Right now you’re probably thinking, ‘Gauthier, you lazy expletive, there are plenty of 24-hour spots in North and Vernon Place, get  up and walk instead.’

In rebuttal, I want to remind my haters that parking on a relatively insular, urban campus is zero-sum. The High Rise lot (for the time being) is entirely closed. I pray that any non-legacy admit could guess where High Rise students are parking instead. So, by displacing the roughly 40 High Rise spots and subtracting that number from the combined 85 spots between North and Vernon Place, the availability of spaces in other lots will become increasingly difficult to come by.

The two 24-hour lots with the highest capacity are Ferris Broad St. (80 spots) and Crescent (60 spots).

The Ferris lots are more a collective bone thrown our way by administration than a legitimate student parking option.

On any given weekday, one is more likely to find coaches, trainers, and various other athletic faculty members’ cars than those of students surrounding Ferris. It seems a cruel joke that the majority of the dorms nearest Ferris are either for first-year students, who can’t have cars or, in the case of the Crescent Townhouses, have their own designated lots.

Crescent has been handed a stinking heap of well-deserved criticism since its inception. Even though demolishing a large section of low-rent housing to build luxury townhouses for students is certainly legal, I doubt I’m alone in viewing Crescent Street as a slip n’ slide towards socioeconomic segregation. At the very least, its development can’t be considered beneficial to town-grown relations.

Crescent Street residents still benefit from a decent-sized lot directly behind their townhouses, which I will not argue is undeserved; these students pay thousands for the privilege. Even they, however, should take issue with the relative size of their special lot. There are 22 townhouses, each housing eight to nine students. There are 60 spots. At most, approximately one-third of all Crescent residents can park in the designated lot at any given time (not even counting South Campus residents who park somewhere besides Summit Street during the week).

Even on Crescent Street, Trinity’s own Park Avenue, money can’t buy an assured parking spot for the Rover. Every day, two-thirds of these students must knock elbows with us regulars to avoid a tow fee. In this way, the school’s irrational distribution of twenty-four-hour parking should be of campus-wide concern.

Furthermore, Trinity is quick to boast of its student-to-faculty ratio, which, according to the website is 9:1. Purely proportionately, the ratio of student-to-faculty spots should mirror this figure, but that’s unrealistic. Considering freshmen are not allowed to have cars, the original ratio should be initially revised to 6.75:1. Not every remaining student has a car on campus, so the ratio can be cut in half to 3.37:1.

This should be the ratio of 24-hour parking spots on campus to those allotted to the faculty during school hours.

The definitive number of twenty-four-hour parking spots – according to the school – is 448. If this is the case, there should be 121 faculty spots (assuming every faculty member drives alone to work).

The lots behind Jarvis encompass about half of this theoretical figure. According to my earlier estimate, Summit Street alone offers 161 spots.

While there is no official count of student-restricted spots, one can safely assume that between the remaining 19 lots reserved for faculty, that count far exceeds the mathematically prescribed 121, tipping the scales in favor of the faculty.

I’m not writing with the presumption that a five-digit tuition bill should afford students parking privileges greater than faculty. Nor am I placing undue blame on the faculty. My concern is administrative.

On Trinity’s end, the simplest solution is a reduction of faculty parking. Each faculty lot that becomes a student lot would help to slowly correct the ratio. Opening Summit, alone, would account for the relative shortage of Crescent Street parking.

The backwards distribution of on-campus student parking is an injustice. When students are “allowed” to pay hundreds for a parking pass only to be pitted against each every weekday, the whole process serves only as a means of profit for the school.


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