In these first weeks of school, parking has been the word on everyone’s lips. The clash over parking is creating a struggle within the student body. It’s a constant fight for spaces filled with students and professors circling parking lots, waiting for a pedestrian to stalk.
With a student body as small as Mills and a campus as large, one would think that parking wouldn’t be such a big issue, but it is. According to campus facilities, there are 1,029 parking spaces on campus and HMDS expects to issue 1,500 parking permits this year. How does that math work out?
In 2000, Mills had a 1:1 ratio of parking places to students, meaning students were pretty much guaranteed a place to park when they came to campus. Now, students have a 68 percent chance of finding a space.
While we’re glad that the admissions department has brought in so many new students, more students means more cars on campus and less places for commuters to park.
So what is campus facilities doing about this problem? Nothing. Paul Richards, the director of campus facilities, says he doesn’t have to add more parking spaces until the number of students reaches 4,000. Can you imagine 3,999 students fighting over 1,029 parking spaces?
Campus facilities is reluctant to pave over any open fields on campus. The administration is content to let students fight the war for parking spaces every day.
Many students would agree that paving over Mills’ rich landscape would be a travesty, but what about the open spaces at the perimeter of campus? If one looks at a map of Mills’ campus, it is clear that there are open spaces behind Founders Commons, near Pine Top, and behind the Underwood apartments and Faculty Village. So why aren’t we opening these spaces up for parking? They are on the edges of campus, parts that students rarely go to or use, the perfect locations for extra parking spaces. Mills also has quite a few of motorcycles forced to take up an entire parking space; adding a few motorcycle spaces would free up extra spaces for cars.
Even if the administration does not want to create new parking lots, the possibility of adding to the current ones also exists. Why not add up? Parking structures, although obtrusive, are easy to build and relatively inexpensive. Adding a story or two to the existing parking lots could open up hundreds of parking spaces and end the struggle between students and administration.
The lack of parking spaces has created a community full of disgruntled drivers, showing up to class late, creating parking spaces in fire zones, and generally starting off their days the wrong way.
Either the administration needs to create new places for students to park or they need to begin regulating the number of cars on campus.
At universities like UC Santa Cruz, freshmen aren’t allowed parking permits and sophomores take part in a lottery for them, limiting the number of cars to upperclassmen and commuting students.
Bottom line: if the college continues to grow in this way, something needs to be done by the administration to accommodate the increasing number of students and cars. Step up administration and do something for the students.