As the Lanthorn has reported this issue, the Grand Valley Police Department outlined improvements to both the campus’ parking and bus systems. It is always inspiring to see the university take strides to stay ahead of the pack with innovative practices, especially those related to sustainability.
While we’ve yet to see how these improvements will impact students when classes begin, it’s safe to say that they should have a significant impact on the select issues they sought to remedy. However, they will not fix the large-scale parking problems that students face on campus. That will take much more work.
Students, you know how it is. If you get to some lots after 8 a.m., your chances of getting a parking spot are slim to none. You are then forced to pick the second closest lot, try your luck once more and repeat until the parking gods are kind.
Many drivers simply give up on getting a spot in a convenient lot and pick one farther from their next class, hustling to make up the distance. Some waste time driving up and down aisles to no avail. The less lawful grab a faculty or metered spot and hope to avoid a ticket.
GVPD announced that it would raise the prices of daily parking passes and pay-to-park rates, which should improve short-term parking, but do little for students.
Mobile pay-to-park and improvements to bus stops will make those experiences feel modern, but do little for commuters who spend extra time looking for a space to park.
Sadly, there are no easy solutions. The layout of the Allendale campus doesn’t provide a location to add a new, “good” parking lot. Any additions will still result in “plan B” lots.
Price hikes for parking passes don’t seem feasible. Underground parking or parking garages sound nice, but may be messy in application. We won’t even humor the idea of a parking lot suspended over a portion of the ravines.
What will work is clear: civil communication, which is a two-way street. If you have a grievance or an idea for parking to be improved, speak up. While it appears the university is listening, students need to create a two-way dialogue.
The goal of the Lanthorn is to harbor conversation, which is why we’re taking the first step. If you have an experience with parking, some thoughts to share or a possible solution, email [email protected]
The efforts of GVPD and the university to improve the student parking experience deserve to be applauded. Their prioritization of the student experience, budget and campus sustainability are second-to-none. It is because of their passion we feel confident they can tackle the beast that is parking with student participation through collaborative dialogue.