Parking solutions on tap?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

November 23, 2007 Ed Cartoon

As a political action project for one of their courses, a group of nursing students at Western proposed a Park & Ride service in between campus and Masonville Place.

The students reason that due to the high expenses and inconvenience involved with parking on campus, the service would be well utilized in such a high-traffic area.

There are numerous flaws in the plan that would need to be straightened out in order for it to be feasible. It is questionable whether Western administration would provide enough financial incentive for the owners of Masonville to justify running the service. Particularly during a peak shopping season like the Christmas holidays; Western students and faculty would take up mall parking that could otherwise be filled with shoppers.

However, Masonville Place possesses a huge parking lot, and with the exception of a peak time like Christmas, it seems like there would be ample room to accommodate Western commuters.

Also, it could be good for Masonville Place to get students in its lot. The proximity to campus and the higher concentration of Western commuters in the lot could certainly translate into sales â€" specifically during hours mid-week in non-peak times of the year. Increased traffic around the mall would be a good thing for local businesses.

A savvy Board of Governors candidate could parlay the idea into public support for addressing the parking problem internally. Parking at Western is at the least pricey and inconvenient. Students, faculty and members of the general public would be receptive to solutions such as the Park & Ride idea.

It’s not surprising that university administration would be reticent to negotiating with Masonville. Western likely makes a considerable sum due to parking passes and parking tickets; the incentive is not there for Western brass to haggle with an outside business when it is debatable how serious the issue truly is.

However, this could perhaps be an adequate temporary solution to Western’s parking problem. The university is creating more spots in the Springett lot, so more space will eventually be available.

It seems that enough students at Western perceive parking to be a problem. Solutions â€" or at least discussion and brainstorming toward further solutions â€" is the right direction on this issue. As such, the nursing students deserve credit for devising a novel idea like the Park & Ride.

Regardless of whether the Park & Ride concept becomes feasible, hopefully it at least improves the dialogue between students and administrators so the issue becomes more malleable.

Ultimately, an interim solution is better than nothing.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette