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Parking up the wrong tree

Students and faculty express frustrations with parking

Taylor University has more students and less parking than ever before. (Photograph provided by Luke Wildman)

Taylor University has more students and less parking than ever before. (Photograph provided by Luke Wildman)

By Hope Bolinger | Copy Editor

Try this experiment: place 10 tired students in a large football stadium with 10 chairs. Place some seats in far corners of the field and make the weary souls walk a great distance. Squish others together, tightening the space so much that students practically sit on top of each other. Reserve some places for members from outside of the field. Throw some hazardous objects such as baseballs at some of the furniture, and make people pay a fine if they park in the wrong chair by accident. Fine others for sitting in spots absent of a chair. Above all else, make sure the students know little or nothing about the rules for this odd test.

This is parking at Taylor University.

Despite flaws seen in the above experiment, Taylor does benefit student drivers more than other universities. Unlike colleges such as Purdue and Stanford, which have freshman parking bans, our school allows first-year students to bring a vehicle after Thanksgiving. Some freshmen can apply earlier to get a permit.

But just because Taylor offers each student a seat doesn’t mean there are enough chairs to go around.

Students already struggle to park without inventing spots, a common occurrence in the Gerig and English lot, or getting a ticket for leaving their cars in off-limit areas. Even if enough parking exists, senior Erin Gautille said drivers must deposit their vehicles far away from their dorms:

“When you come back late at night, and it’s cold, (parking far away) does not even feel like an option.”

Enrollment has skyrocketed to 2,100 students according to U.S. News and World Report, with ever-growing demand for parking spots.

For instance, during the Campus Center construction in 2015 and 2016, our school removed a huge parking lot and replaced it with grass, according to Terrance Volden, the technical director for the theater.

“We didn’t have enough parking before the Boren Center was built,” Volden said. “I would be very interested to know if they actually know if the number of registered vehicles even fit in the parking lots they are supposedly assigned to.”

Volden has also expressed frustrations about the University’s aversion to signs which indicate when and where students can park. He didn’t understand how Taylor could put up plaques explaining the history of buildings on campus, yet no placards exist in the theatre lot indicating only faculty can park there. The vague rules online, which are about six years out of date, still leave students and faculty, such as Volden and Gautille, confused about where they can and cannot park.

Although faulty, our experiment in the first paragraph can use a few adjustments.

Adjustment One: Add signs in parking lots to clarify where students can and cannot park.

Adjustment Two: Assign each student and faculty member to a particular spot in a lot closest to his or her dorm or office.

Adjustment Three: If possible, build another parking lot for the overflow of incoming students. If enrollment continues to increase, this may be inevitable.

Above all, if you make a student pay for a seat, they’re going to expect a chair.

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