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Friday, May 14, 2021

OPINION: Dude, where do I park?

By Dylan Green

I pay my tuition. I work hard in my classes. I put effort into my time at school and, for the most part, enjoy my experience at Western. Except parking.

I live roughly 20 minutes from campus, do not own a bicycle and have no access to the Whatcom Transportation Authority bus stops, so I have no choice but to drive to school. This decision leaves me with three options: buy a parking pass, utilize the Lincoln Creek Park & Ride or park on the street around the general vicinity of campus.

My monetary position is low to say the least, so purchasing a parking pass is out of the question. For the quarter, a pass is $79.65, and from what I’ve heard the lots are a mess. They are only close to the gym and one-fourth of campus. I’ve used the Park and Ride in the past, but it’s difficult to judge whether or not I’ll be able to catch the shuttle bus due to large morning groups.

Eliminating these first two options leaves me with one course of action: parking on the street. This is a stressful and somewhat terrifying alternative because a fair amount of the parking spaces around Western are tow zones or reserved for housing complexes. When I do finally find an open spot, I realize I’m practically in Fairhaven.

So what is a student to do?

I suppose my complaint is fairly first-world, as the modern man would say. The quality of education and resources at Western are absolutely worth the trip to campus, but starting each day with a battle for a parking spot is frustrating.

By Anna Jentoft

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at Western. Like myself, you could have been here for almost four years or you could have just pulled up for your first campus tour. But everyone, and I mean everyone, knows that the parking situation here, for lack of a better word, sucks.

Parking passes cost $79.65, which cuts into my food and utility money. On top of this, the poor quality of the C-lots has ruined my car.

My vehicle is riddled with scratches and dents, and the huge potholes really do a number on my suspension. Not only that, but the majority of the time when I show up looking for a spot, there aren’t any. I would like to think that if I’m paying to park somewhere then I’m guaranteed a spot but I guess that is not the case here.

As a student who lives near Meridian Street and is normally on campus until 1 a.m. everyday, I have no option other than to drive to school. The buses don’t run by my house late at night and I don’t feel comfortable walking home, especially with all the Western alerts that get sent out about women getting grabbed at all hours of the day.

Personally, part of my reason for having a parking pass is for safety. Parking services has time and time again given me tickets for parking behind the Communications Facility even though I am there after the posted hours and I have a pass that lets me park there. Apparently, people going to basketball games are more important than my safety after working on the school newspaper until 1 a.m.

Parking pass or no, you’ve heard our voices. Some students can’t afford the pass while others pay the fee for safety. Paying for a pass can result in vehicle damage and doesn’t promise the buyer a spot. Not buying a pass could mean walking great distances to class or even a towed vehicle. We don’t have a solution, but as students at a quickly growing university we feel that we deserve one.

The Western Front Editorial board is composed of Anna Jentoft, Dylan Green, Brandon Stone and Stephanie Villiers

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