No paved paradise

At least there are spots on the parking committee

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A parking lot full of cars

Jon Purdy

IF WE WANTED TO DEAL WITH THIS MUCH TRAFFIC, WE'D MOVE TO MUMBAI. On second thought, we don't see any rickshaws or stray cows in this photo. But, we'd love some homemade chutney. Oh yeah, parking is a problem at Western.

Can’t find a decent parking spot on campus? Western’s student leaders feel your pain " and want things to change.

At last week’s University Students’ Council meeting, Board of Governors member Matt Reid put forth a motion for three undergraduate students to be elected to the Board’s Advisory Committee on Parking and Traffic (ACPT), seconded by senator Zach Armstrong.

“Zach and I met with parking services to bring forward a committee ... we were told [ACPT] already existed but was underutilized,” Reid explained.

In fact, Reid’s inspection of past ACPT minutes revealed in the last five years, it was rare that more than two of the three available undergraduate students spots were filled " and sometimes, none at all.

After council passed Reid and Armstrong’s motion, Senator Stephen Lecce, Ivey HBA councillor Peter Markvoort, and Law councillor James Mangan were selected for the committee, with their first meeting scheduled for Nov. 5.

The ACPT’s mandate involves advising Gitta Kulczycki, vice-president resources and operations, on issues such as campus parking, traffic concerns, and new construction projects with parking and traffic implications.

Lecce elaborated on his role: “We need to amplify the student voice, and ensure that [President Paul] Davenport pays particular attention to the challenges facing our community.”

Lecce noted many students are unhappy walking up to half an hour from their parking spot to class. He explained there are fewer “green”, or undergraduate, parking spots than in the past. For instance, Saugeen was turned from green to gray, which are only for graduate students.

David Simmonds, VP-university affairs for the USC, expressed concern over the ACPT’s mandate and its ability to be a mechanism for change. He noted the committee could only initiate isolated conversations within Senate and the Board.

“The Board of Governors will not look at [the parking issue] without recommendation from Davenport,” Simmonds said.

“[We need to] create researched, educated solutions and a reasonable case ... so he has to give us a valid answer.”

Reid emphasized that the ACPT is just a “step in the right direction.”

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