The high cost of University parking: take two

by Ashley Goetz

Hello Daily readers, Ashley Bray here. I am writing in response to a letter to the editor “The high cost of University parking” (03/08/11) that was published last week in the Daily.  Like many students on campus the author of this letter is clearly frustrated by what she calls “outrageous” parking prices.  She notes that while there are cheap lots around campus – like the $3 lot behind Mariucci – paying to park in them on a regular basis really adds up, especially for college students. She calls for students to get special treatment, like visitors and staff, when it comes to parking.

All right, on the one hand, I agree. Parking fees at this school are seriously appalling.  And the author is right, paying for parking on a regular basis costs way too much for any student trying to live on their own. I know, I tried to do it last summer.

However, I do not agree that students should receive special parking options. I also don’t believe, no matter the amount of harping done by students, that Parking and Transportation Services is going to help students out anytime soon.

Last fall I interviewed a spokesperson for Parking and Transportation Services for a story about getting around campus on game day. The spokesperson admitted to me that PTS makes an effort to keep student’s cars off campus.  While it sounds harsh, I think the reasoning is sound.

The majority of students live on or near campus, where there are plenty of public transportation options to bring students to class.  It is visitors to the University that need parking. First of all, they won’t be there as long. Second, if someone that does not attend the University is spending money on events, the University has the responsibility to provide them with ample parking. Asking that PTS punish visitors doesn’t make sense.

Like the comments under this particular letter to the editor highlighted, the UPass is one of the best deals on campus.  Busses travel to many suburbs around the cities and can get you to campus in a reasonable amount of time.  I used to be a commuter student, traveling every morning from Apple Valley to Minneapolis. Not only are the buses reliable, the trip provides great study time.

Some students say it is not always practical to take a bus. I admit, there were days when I was too late to catch the bus, in which case I would just drive to Como Neighborhood, park on the street and walk in. On the rare occasions when I had a lot to carry, or was just feeling lazy, I paid to park. But those occasions are few and far between and there is really no reason for a student to absolutely have to pay for parking every single day.

I agree with the author that as students, we already pay too much to attend this University and there are some areas that students should fight for better treatment and privileges. I just don’t think parking is one of them.


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