Walk don’t drive to save green

Racquel Rollins, Copy Desk Chief

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All year, every year I hear one major topic of complaint: parking. This topic always brings a few thoughts to my mind.

According to the Quick Facts page on the CWU website, we have over 11,000 students. I have no clue the amount of faculty and staff we have on campus, but I am sure it’s a fair amount.

Recently we have added parking lots, which people thought would help, but of course with the larger-than-normal freshman class and our already congested parking lots, it did not seem to help any.

I understand, I really do; I have been there looking for parking. I lived on campus my freshman year, so I was that annoying freshman who always had my car parked in the parking lot, only to be moved on the special occasion or late at night when I worked.

Then came sophomore year, I lived in a house not far from campus, but most days I felt lazy and wanted to drive. I became that sophomore who was angry and frustrated, always nearly late because I could never find a parking spot.

I quickly realized that it is just easier to walk. The majority of the apartment complexes here in town are only 10-to-15 minutes from campus. It seems a lot longer than that when it is cold and raining or snowing, but often times you will find yourself walking nearly as far to wherever you parked your car.

I have witnessed students drive from their apartment complex to the free parking. By the time these students have walked to their car, started it, driven to the free parking lot, found a parking spot, and gotten out of their car they could practically be on campus.

My advice to students around campus is to walk to class. Walking to class benefits everyone. It keeps you healthier. Fitting in exercise in with school and work and having a social life seems impossible sometimes and will often get left out of the daily routine. Walking to class is an easy way to fit this in, making you a more well-rounded student.

It also benefits everyone else by easing parking and traffic congestion around campus. That is one less car to sit behind at one of the dreaded stoplights or stop signs around the perimeter of campus. That is one more available parking spot for someone who is not lucky enough to live close enough to campus to walk.

However, I do understand needing a car on campus as a freshman. Freshmen need jobs too and having a car for transportation is usually key during a job search. I also understand that the car is going to sit in its designated spot more often than it will ever leave. It sucks, but it is unavoidable.

I also understand that we have several students who commute from outside of Ellensburg, or at least far enough from campus that walking every day seems a tad outrageous. Again, this sucks when it comes to parking, but it is unavoidable.

The second thought that always comes to mind when people complain about parking is the shear amount of parking passes that must be sold in order to cause such issues. I realize that the school most likely oversells parking passes, much the same as airlines overbooking flights. It’s assumed that a certain percent of people are not going to drive that day, maybe they are sick and not attending class, or maybe it is a beautiful day and they chose to walk.

Another factor they must consider is that not every student that drives is going to be on campus at the same time. Some students may be done with classes at 11, while others might not even starts until noon.

You would also think that after all the complaints the parking office would sell less passes. Perhaps they are not aware of the issue or maybe they simply do not care because they make so much money off of the parking passes.

Parking passes cost $96 a quarter, $193 for an academic year or $204 for a calendar year. Parking lots, I imagine, do not require hours of labor and upkeep, making parking passes very profitable.

Maybe, just maybe, we have an invisible, empty parking lot somewhere. That would certainly solve this issue.

As for how to actually fix the problem, I really have no valid answer. We have a beautiful campus and I do not necessarily enjoy the idea of littering it with drab parking lots. I also recognize that people who are capable are not going to start walking to class, especially as the days cool off and the nights come quick.

It would take a combination of selling less passes and less people driving to truly ease the burden that is parking. We cannot expect the school to look to make less money off of passes and we cannot expect students to change their habits to ease the great burden. All we can ask for is patience and a prayer that a good parking spot will appear.

Xander Fu
Students and faculty must purchase a parking pass before parking on campus.

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Walk don’t drive to save green