Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

Parking: Hard on campus but UMass has it right

Driving on campus is horrible. For pedestrians, drivers are annoying, immature and seem like they’re just waiting for the opportunity to run someone over. For drivers, pedestrians delay them up to five minutes at a time. They walk out into the road without looking and seem to be trying to get run over so they can pay their fees with the insurance money. The only thing they can agree on is a hatred of cyclists.

But even worse than driving on campus is the Lovecraftian nightmare of parking. Cthulhu himself couldn’t have devised a better method of driving us mad, shattering our delusions about the nature of reality than parking services has.

Nevertheless, I believe that parking on campus is the best it can be.

There are three main factors at work with parking. The first is the scarcity of parking, the second is the cost of parking permits and the third is geography.

Scarcity, the principle of supply and demand, makes us realize that there is very little parking available on campus, but a very high demand for it. Unlike many goods, parking spaces cannot be mass produced. Instead, if we want to increase the number of parking spaces, we need to build parking lots or parking garages, both of which can be costly. They also take up space, which is at a premium. The main problem is an economic one – we can flatten and pave over a large area for more parking spaces or we can build a new science lab or dormitory. In the long run, a useful building is more valuable than a parking lot. Not that parking lots are never expanded. According to the parking services website, with the University Apartments finally being torn down, Lot 52 will be expanded for next semester. This won’t have much effect on demand, but hey, they’re trying.

The cost of parking permits seems outrageous to many people. When my friend Thom went to get a permit for the first time, and was told they cost $300, he thought they were joking. Undergraduate students bear the brunt of permit costs and parking scarcity. The parking services fee chart shows that those freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and even some graduate students are limited to green (commuter), purple (resident) and yellow lots for $310, $275 and $220, respectively. A lower-garage permit is $877. Members of the Graduate Employee Organization get much lower rates, as do resident staff. Permits are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, with access to specific lots based on seniority and availability. No one gets special treatment. Considering the demand for good parking and the fact that the permit prices are flat within their categories, parking services is very likely undercharging for permits.

This brings me to my next point: geography. We have a big, hilly campus, much of which was used before the internal combustion engine was invented. In other words, this campus was originally designed for walking. This is most apparent on North Pleasant Street. If you were going to build it now, you’d want North Pleasant to be four lanes for cars and have skywalks for pedestrians. Central, Northeast, Orchard Hill and Sylvan Residential Areas are all built into the hillside, which limits the amount of space available for parking. Hell, every time I’m on the Amity Shuttle bus and it makes that turn through Lot 49 to get to the Dickinson stop, I think the bus is going to overturn because it’s so tight.

As a result of the cramped, hilly, tiny confines of campus, new parking lots have to be built far away. The largest lots around are the ones across Massachusetts Avenue from the Haigis Mall, the ones across from Southwest and the ones on Commonwealth Avenue. Unsurprisingly, these lots are also the farthest from everything.

The main problem with the parking situation is that too many people have cars and want to bring them to campus. Enough is enough. Be honest with yourselves people. Most of you – especially those of you who live on campus – don’t need cars right now. You can walk. You can carpool. You can even take the bus. A car is a financial albatross. It just hangs around your neck losing value despite all the cash you pump into it. Not only that, between the extra gas you use dashing off to wherever and the gas that gets wasted in the inevitable traffic jam because everyone is driving at once, you contribute to global climate change.

Save your money, save the world and lose weight because of the extra walking you’ll be doing. Leave the parking to the people who need it. Oh, and get yourself a comfy pair of shoes.

Matt Robare is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mrobare@student.umass.edu.

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