In the recent past, there has been a rise of concern about parking on campus. The issue being, the alarming rate of parking problems on campus; the available parking space is not enough to meet the demand. With the rise in-car ownership by the students and increased admissions to the campus, could be considered as the major cause of parking problems. A lasting solution could be sought to curb the rising menace. A keen look into the various ways of the causes of the problem will be the right step into finding a solution.
Growing population is one obvious cause of campus parking problem. The institutions that began with holding small capacity have lately grown to admit increased number of students. The increase in population without a relative increase of the service facilities to cater for the growing population has its share in causing the problem. In addition, there is increasing rates of car ownership among the students and even university staff. In the recent past, the number of students owning cars has risen in that almost 7 out of 10 students own cars. This has obviously a lot to do with stress the facilities in place would be put to. The result is the increased automobile dependency which has a lot of negative effects such as environmental degradation resulting from carbon emission, noise and destruction of the natural environment to build facilities for automobile.
The other element is improper planning. This includes planning of the facilities and systems or mechanisms that regulate the use of parking. While space is a conscious thing to consider in campus for allocation of various structures and parking, these competing needs could be assessed in order of priorities. The structure for learning should take first priority and be strategically located for ease of access around campus. The control systems like online booking of parking has been also considered as a cause for the problem. The systems are sometimes not well-integrated to accurately give precise information on available parking slots, which ends up allowing people to book for spaces that are not available. The year round parking for residents of dorms could be considered as another cause for the problem. Thousands of students that live in campus still need parking space despite being close to facilities. (Kenny Para 6).
Despite the mentioned challenges above, a total remedy is not easy but alternatives could be found to improve the situation. According to Daniel R. Kenny, ‘The remedy will vary, depending on the institution.’ However, some of the general solutions that could be looked at include; Provision of more space. This could be achieved by constructing a garage or acquiring more open space for parking. The challenge with this solution is the costs. In addition, there is a challenge of traffic attracted, which will result in congestion on the roads leading to campus.
The other alternative is embracing carpooling services. This could be encouraged through mechanisms like, provision of priority parking for carpool as opposed to single occupant cars. Affiliated to this alternative is strategic pricing. In this case, instances like carpooling will be given advantages even lower prices to encourage the act, while the single occupants should have increased charges. Although this should have well formulated policies and elaborated to the parties’ concerned. A well plan for increasing charges on parking could be formulated to result in the parking fee able to cater for the construction and maintenance of parking facilities. Since parking is mostly provided at subsidized rates, this demands digging into other sources of finance to support and develop facilities for parking. Consequently increase of school fee that is distributed to even non-car owner students putting them at a disadvantage.
A lean solution to the problem could be providing transport options. It could be achieved by providing elaborate cycle lanes and footpaths. This will encourage the use of bicycles and walking. By providing well shaded footpaths with a serene environment, people can prefer to walk for 10 to 15 minute to class in such environment than be driving to class just from residence place within the campus. Landscaping, covered walkways, good lighting after dark and shade trees can give a serene environment that will encourage walking around the campus.
Provision of park-and-ride bus routes could be another alternative. There could be parking space on the outskirts of campus and then provide transit buses to campus. Mass transit could be considered as another convenient way to curb on the problem. Strategic planning of campus structures will cause use of alternative transport other than driving around campus. The infrastructure can be in proximity to the relation in their use, like hostels being close to the lecture halls and others in the order of their relation.
Conclusively parking problem is a concern. The solutions that could be adopted come with challenges like cost. There are many solutions which shall be adopted but they are institution specific. Depending on the institution set up since not all institutions have same set up and similar challenges. But in consideration of the various alternatives discussed a solution would be adopted that best suits a specific institution.
Daniel Kenney. “Chronicle of Higher Education: How to Solve Campus Parking Problems.” The California State University: Daily News Clips. (2004): print.