Parking problems remain despite new garage

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The parking garage is done. Well … almost done. One would assume the almost completed parking garage would mean that parking would become easier and cheaper. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

It is wrong to assume that with the parking garage quasi-finished, our days of making two or three trips around the parking lot trying to find a parking spot are over. We are not going to have our pickings of perfect parking spots, nor will our fights for that last parking spot in the lot be a thing of the past. While the sky-walk is still under construction, the top two floors of the garage are inaccessible and unusable.

With classes starting this week and two floors of parking spots still under construction, most students will be hard-pressed to find a parking spot in the garage if they arrive on campus after 8 a.m.

Parking Services might tell us that the sky-walk will be done by the end of the month or by the end of September, but what they really mean is that the final parking garage will not be done until snow starts hitting the ground. Perhaps I am being pessimistic, but they have not given me any reason to be hopeful.

Even when the parking garage is actually finished, we are still going to have to fight for that last parking spot in the lot. Since there are assumedly more parking spots on campus, those who walked or biked to campus last year (mainly because they were fed up with the parking situation) are going to be driving to campus again.

It is simple economics; as the supply of parking spots increase, the cost of acquiring parking spots decreases, and the equilibrium shifts to the left. In other words, because there are more parking spots available, the costs (i.e. time and money) of finding a parking spot decreases, and more people are going to be driving to campus.

Not only is it wrong to assume the new parking garage would mean more parking spots, it is also wrong to assume parking will be cheaper or even the same price.

It might seem like basic economics that as the supply of parking spots goes up, the price of parking spots will go down. However, basic economic principles apparently do not apply to parking spots in the garage, since it now costs more per parking pass for students and staff who want to park in the parking garage. Not only do they have to pay for a general parking pass, they also have to pay extra for an RFID card, (which allows vehicles access to the parking garage).

It is frustrating that the parking garage, which is supposed to make parking on campus more convenient, has done everything but that. There are less parking spots on campus, and it costs more to park in the garage.

However, not all hope is lost for an easy and stress-free commute to campus. Instead of driving and fighting for parking spots on campus, you can leave a bit earlier and walk or bike to campus. Not only will you avoid the headache that is parking on this campus, you will decrease the carbon footprint on the world, and you will also get some exercise so you can impress that guy or gal in your chemistry lecture.

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