Recently, I had quite an interesting day. One would think arriving to the university at 9:40 for a 10 a.m. class would leave me plenty of time to find parking. Instead, I drove to a parkade line-up that extended to the gyms. For anyone unfamiliar with the parkade, waiting in line can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. Considering my time constraint, I decided to peruse the public parking areas (green signs) to see if my luck would change. St. John’s: full. Behind Dafoe: full. Across St. Paul’s: full. Everywhere I went to find public parking, it was the same story.
Noticing my class had already started, I felt ashamed of myself for letting this happen. My shame quickly turned to anger. After checking the parkade one last time (still full, of course), I immediately phoned parking services to see what I should do. “Do they have any alternatives?” I asked. The voice on the other end told me that my only solution was that I should go to the $4 lot (used to be $2, why has this changed?) and take the shuttle bus. I was later informed that students were receiving tickets for parking on the grass in the $4 lot because it was full as well. After I responded that I was already late for class, she responded with an apology. After all, I can’t blame my personal parking problem on this lady. I guess I should arrive 40 minutes early from now on!
So, on this occasion I parked illegally in staff parking, not because I wanted to, but because I was forced to. I paid for parking and chose the staff parking lot with the most empty spaces. On my dash I placed my parking stub, along with a note explaining why my car was in a staff lot. Regardless, I still received a parking ticket.
For students such as myself that only drive to campus two days a week, buying a parking pass for over $400 is out of the question. Considering the money students pay for tuition and books, should we not be entitled to an easy time finding parking?
Just the other day I witnessed two people fighting over a parking spot, arguing over who was waiting for it first. This scenario happens all over campus everyday. Students pay too much money to be late for class due to lack of parking.
Is it time to reconsider the parking situation at the U of M? Glance at the public parking areas between any two classes. Someone could get dizzy just watching vehicles circling public parking lots over and over again. I am one of these cars, and I believe in a better parking situation for all students commuting to the U of M. Some may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Jeff Hadley is a student at the U of M.