For the average student, trying to get into town entails a very long walk, carpooling or being constrained by specific Lawrence shuttle times. Having a car saves time, simplifies moving around Appleton or going home for the weekend. The only catch is when a student needs to find a place to park their car afterwards.
If you’re from a big city, you’re no stranger to the impossibility of finding parking spots and the odd rules that often accompany them. When I came to Lawrence University, I thought these kinds of problems would go away. However, it seems Appleton is filled with more odd parking rules and restriction than cities 10 times its size.
With such limited parking available around Appleton, the parking on campus becomes a commodity. Students have to settle for the spaces left over that the staff and faculty don’t use. It doesn’t help that Appleton’s odd parking rules are so controlling that Lawrence University’s parking rules become almost as complicated as the city’s.
The limited parking space on the Lawrence campus has caused a number of problems. Guests — including prospective students — who come to visit Lawrence often have trouble finding parking and run the risk of being ticketed or having their cars towed. Students who didn’t win the parking lottery often look for other venues to park, angering local businesses who suddenly find their parking lots full of student cars.
I understand Lawrence’s position. The university has no control over Appleton parking regulations or fine amounts, and they are trying to keep the theme of having a “green” campus. Parking lots are about as anti-environmental as something can get: a bunch of concrete paved over soil that destroys habitats to make room for a bunch of gas guzzling machines. It’s understandable why the university would only make as much parking space as was necessary on campus.
Instead, I suggest that the university look at preexisting parking lots and purchase one nearby for the use of students. Both students and the university would benefit from such an arrangement. The environmental impact has already been made so the issue of environmental ethics can be set aside, which is something both students and the university can get behind.
By having an additional private parking lot, Lawrence would be able to allocate more parking spaces for students that they would be able to collect on, creating another source of income for Lawrence.
Students would be able to have a secure area close to campus that they would be able to park their vehicles without fear of being subjected to towing or ticketing or any other parking problem Appleton could inflict upon them. Students would probably be able to save money simply by no longer having to pay towing costs and fines.
Carpooling does remain an option that I feel is both economical and environmentally friendly. For the time being though, it seems that if you want a car on campus you need to be really lucky, a senior or just really like getting towed.