### YOUR STREET NAME
126 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Dear Dr. Salonen,
I am a student at the University of Bridgeport, I am writing to you with some concerns, and suggestions about the campus are parking problems.
As you are already aware, many UB students commute to campus from the surrounding area, and are required to bring a driver’s license to get a parking pass. Being able to commute to campus allows diverse students to attend the university, and obtaining a parking pass is not a problem for students who come from a distance in order to attend classes each day.
However, parking has become a problem for many of the students that must commute to the university. The increasing number of students attending UB, most of them owning cars, means that finding a parking space can be very difficult. This is especially a problem for students who commute, because it can take a long time to find a parking spot or the parking available is at a great distance from the classrooms, making it likely that commuting students will be late for class and miss out on important academic lectures and activities.
Although it may be possible for some commuting students to simply leave earlier in order to find a parking space and to get to class on time, it is important to realize that this is not possible in many cases. For example, today’s students come from a variety of backgrounds and have families, full-time jobs, or other obligations that mean each moment of the day must me meticulously coordinated. The University of Bridgeport could offer students such as this some better options for parking so that they can fully participate in the academic experience.
One obvious solution is to create bigger and more parking lots. The demand for parking from all types of students is increasing, and all students would benefit from this kind of expansion. When space is at a premium, creating a parking garage is another solution for adding more parking spaces to the school.
It may be the case that adding parking to UB means that lots will need to be created in outlying areas that are distant from classrooms. Commuting students may still have some difficulty getting to class on time if they have to park in one of these distant lots, but adding a shuttle that runs regularly to the central areas of campus can solve this problem.
Additionally, creating outlying parking lots and requiring students residing on campus to park there can also ease some of the burden for commuting students who need to park closer to classrooms in order to make it to class on time. Color-coding parking passes according to whether a student is an on-campus resident, a commuter, handicapped, and so forth can make it easy for everyone to understand where to park.
Another solution to consider in order to maximize efficiency among commuter students is to encourage car-pooling. A close-to-campus lot and car-pool commuter parking passes will also appeal to students who care about the environment and also wish to save gas money. A park-and-ride lot for commuters is another idea that students can profit from in both time and financial savings.
Offering an efficient ride-share board can make the task of finding other people to conveniently carpool with a less daunting task for students. This can be done by providing physical boards reserved for the purpose in popular student recreation areas. However, a better method these days is to utilize the Internet so students, staff, and faculty can find people close to them who have similar schedules in order to organize efficient carpools. For example, Carleton College in Minnesota utilizes an interactive Google map in order to assist commuters who need to find someone to share rides with.
Related to the idea of car-pooling is partnering with local businesses to offer discounts or other incentives for students who share rides. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a program such as this that UB could also use to motivate its commuter students to car-pool and reduce the demand for parking spaces.
Creating a Van Pool is also an idea that UB could invest in for commuter students. Cal Poly has a program that students can buy into for $40 a month, which is not as expensive as owning and maintaining a vehicle of one’s own. Boise State has a similar successful program, however, they also have an emergency backup plan which means that in an emergency, a student can call for a cab up to six times or up to $300 in the event that they must leave campus before their regularly scheduled van departure time. A program like this pays for itself and has proven very popular for students, faculty, and staff.
Green initiatives as solutions to parking problems lead to a variety of innovative ideas that a campus can encourage for its students. For example, encouraging the use of bicycles on campus with ample parking for bikes, bike rentals, offering incentives such as discounts for local students who register and utilize bikes, and creating bike lanes are just a few ways to make this a viable option for many students. Providing more bike lockers, offering free bikes to freshmen who promise not to bring cars to campus, and other incentives are just a few ideas about how to reduce parking problems on the UB campus.
Also, another solutions that can work to help reduce the parking problem at UB is to offer desirable parking passes on a lottery basis, with the more desirable spaces going to faculty and students depending on their role and how long they have been requesting campus parking permits.
Binghamton Univeristy in New York introduced mobile parking meters in the 2006-2007 academic year, which is especially popular with non-traditional students because it means that these students do not have to spend time circling looking for a metered space. Students pay a refundable deposit to obtain a meter and a set rate per hour while they are parked on campus.
Finally, another way to make parking on campus more efficient is to add a cost to getting a parking pass, especially for freshmen or students who reside on campus. For example, the University of New England in Maine raised its annual parking permit fee to $300 from $90 while simultaneously offering alternative ideas for transportation. If expansion of current parking lots or addition of new lots and garages is not possible, raising rates for parking passes may be a necessity.
If you would like more feedback or have any questions for me concerning UB’s parking issues, please feel free to contact me at . I very much appreciate the time you have taken to read about and consider my concerns.