July 8, 2002

Parking users need bus service

The temperature this week reached nearly 100 degrees, and it felt like the sun had burst open and flames had engulfed the campus streets. When I walk to or from the Ellis parking structure where I usually leave my car, I often feel that hell could be cooler. I also must rush to class down Ellis Avenue to 60th Street, burdened by a heavy backpack and the new beads of sweat that form on my forehead with each step. As I walk past the bookstore, I sometimes see a perfect parking spot. I assure you, it is never there during my morning search. I stop, consider the perfection of the spot, and weigh it against the consequence of rushing back to the parking structure and re-parking. But alas! By the time I would walk back and return to this heavenly spot, someone will have taken it. So I tread on to my class at Midway Studios, through the sweltering heat, across the desert that is the Midway.

To make matters worse, as I walk out of the parking structure, the 171 flashes by me like a mirage. But of course it does not stop. Why should it stop for commuters who can drive to campus, park their car in the brand-spanking-new parking structure, and then walk, sometimes with enormous burdens, to their destinations, usually somewhere on the quads, several blocks away? My point is that there ought to be a bus stop for those of us who park there.

Are commuters who drive somehow lesser University members? Why should we, the overheated many, salivate every time a bus drives by and completely ignores us? As patrons of the parking structure, paying $180 a quarter, we should at least get the common decency of being offered a "lift" by the busses. Indeed, there should be a bus stop erected directly next to the structure so that those walking may make use of this university service. Professors, students, and other university workers, indeed anyone who utilizes the parking structure, are all affected.

One might quickly point out to me, the whining commuter, that I should feel quite lucky that I can park next to the University Police headquarters. True, perhaps I do feel a bit safer, yet I am still not pacified. I am reminded of countless occasions when I see police officers in air-conditioned squad cars patrolling the campus, driving to their destinations, and even parking wherever they wish because they will not be ticketed. And the University Police does not drive me to my class at Midway Studios. Indeed, I am not placated.

Receiving parking tickets on this campus is a very realistic and quite frequent nightmare. The parking meters can only be paid for a short time, and running to and one's metered spot at regular time intervals can not only deplete one's quarter source, it can also become very frustrating, such as when class runs over and the meter expires by the time you get back to it. On the occasions that your meter expires, rest assured, a lovely orange ticket will inevitably be sitting on your windshield in lieu of your tardy quarter. Of course, any one of the many people who has dreamt of finding a decent parking space on this campus can tell you that it is like playing the lottery: many will try and few will win. Parking spaces are illusive. So you see how easily the driving commuter can get frustrated and why the Ellis Ave. parking structure is such a welcomed addition.

All I ask, as a patron of the Ellis structure, is to have the university erect a bus stop adjacent to it. Certainly, it is not too much to ask that during the ozone action days, I do not get heat exhaustion before I get to my first class.

The winter frostbite is a different story for a different season. May I recommend ice skates?