Parking: The Last Frontier

Editorial Board

Any time the students of WT are asked what they would change about their university, one particular issue seems to be a common complaint amongst Buffs: on-campus parking.

The lack of space for vehicles is an infamous gripe amongst the car owners of the student body; the blame for tardiness is often laid on the asphalt of the crowded lots, local businesses that enforce strict towing policies to keep their own spaces reserved for customers and long treks from the far ends of distant parking lots.

Every student who drives experiences these troubles at some point or another. The frantic hunt for a place to park as the clock ticks down is a familiar experience to Buffs, often retold like a war-story over coffee in the JBK. Finding good parking has become a strange combination of competition, ritual, science and mysticism. Advice on how to secure a good spot is a common topic of conversation amongst students. Strategies on timing and the locations of less-known parking lots are traded, though the latter just leads to those spots becoming just as packed.

The shuttle bus provides some relief from the parking problem, but the issue is far from solved. The student body of WT continues to grow, and the parking infrastructure is lagging behind. New lots have been built in recent years, most recently behind the Activity Center, but spaces were lost to the closure of 26th Street and the newer lots are far from most classrooms. Timing does have an effect, more spots are available early in the morning and during certain times of the day as students come and go, but planning can only stretch so far and different events can cause the amount of cars to fluctuate.

As far as problems a university could have go, a lack of parking is far from the worst. This doesn’t completely excuse the issue, but it should place it in some perspective. Instead of being a serious issue, it’s the type of irritating inconvenience that seems far bigger when it doesn’t have anything serious to compete with.

Ultimately that is why students must complain. Students wield a powerful voice when they speak together; social media provides an unprecedented audience for students to express their concerns, and WT frequently engages with its students both online and in person. Until parking infrastructure has been expanded on campus, students will continue to hunt for spots and hope to find one before class starts.