Editorial: The problems with parking at Laurier

Parking at Laurier can be, in short, a frustrating experience. It seems to the student that there is not enough parking on campus after they are forced to park further away multiple times, in public parking, due to white permit lots being full. When one receives a parking ticket, the feeling of ‘if I’d known I was wasn’t allowed to park there, I wouldn’t have’ is all too familiar.

It is easy to feel, due to lack of parking and other irritating ergonomic concerns, that the $339.05 one spends for a white permit is poor value. Overall, it would seem that Laurier parking services need to update certain aspects of the lots in response to analysis of ergonomic concerns–an adaptive approach that I feel is not being taken.

This is a very ‘first world’ issue, but nonetheless it is always nice to see the little things being taken care of. Of course, complaints such as “there’s not enough parking on campus’ or ‘I didn’t deserve that ticket’ or ‘laurier parking services are milking students for cash’ are either unconstructive or unfair, despite the catharsis these utterances might bring us. A significantly more constructive approach would be to suggest solutions to the issues that one might frequently complain about. Not only is this approach more useful, it creates a more friendly dialogue between students and parking services.

The first and foremost issue is that there is not enough parking on campus for an average day’s number of drivers to find spots at peak times. To be fair to parking services, this is a difficult problem to alleviate. One cannot simply create space for parking out of thin air.

However, the responses from parking services on the issue do not assuage frustrations. The current opinion from their administration is that students should park at Northdale campus and accept the walk from that lot. To be fair once again, Northdale campus always has an abundance of open parking. However, this outlook is ultimately unhelpful due to the presence of public parking that is further from campus than the ideal lots, but closer than Northdale campus. These public parking spaces are the go-to backups for students, myself included. A possible solution to this problem would be the flexible reassignment of spots in non-white permit lots to white permit parking based on analysis of usage. The underground blue permit lot under King Street Residence, for instance, is never full: there are always many free spots available at every time of day, which leads one to suspect that the number of resident blue permits issued is lower than the number of spots in that lot. In cases where the number of spots in certain color lots exceeds the number of corresponding permits issued, it might be beneficial for parking services to re-mark excess spots as white permit parking.

There are other issues that suggest parking services are not continually observing and updating the lots in response to ergonomic issues. In the lot outside of Willison hall, one-third of the lot’s parking is gold permit. However, the signs indicating this are placed so low that reverse-parked vans and SUV’s will cover these signs, making it quite easy to believe that the spaces are white permit like the rest of the lot–only to come back to a surprise ticket, as yours truly did. It would be reasonable, methinks, for parking services to ensure that signs are placed in a manner as to always be visible.

To sum up my thoughts, it would be advisable for Laurier parking services to take a continually proactive and critical approach to the allocation and ergonomic design of the lots, wherein administration constantly seeks out areas of improvement. This would create better faith among students and staff, and serve to alleviate frustrations over the value of one’s parking permit.

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