Consider long-term parking

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Campus planning and aesthetics are at the core of DePauw’s 2020 plan. Currently vehicles crowd the campus, and pushing them to the the outskirts of campus is one of the plan’s aesthetic improvements.

It’s easy to see how displacing a number of cars on campus could make lives easier for students and professors alike.

As part of the movement to discourage cars from parking in the middle of campus, professors are now being asked for the first time to pony up some money for their parking spaces.

And the parking spaces already on campus are getting scarce already. Market pressure is taking hold, as demonstrated by the propsed price increases. Not to mention, the crowded street-side parking areas and lots seem a bit out of place on our largely pedestrian campus.

We aren’t expecting people to ditch their cars. Some students commute between DePauw’s campus and their homes, and that is a choice that every student and professor on this campus is entitled to. The only problem is that those cars need a place to stay even after their owners have reverted to live as a pedestrian in the bubble.

What if certain lots on campus, like the lot adjacent to the Lilly Center and the lot behind Bloomington Street Hall, were designated as long-term parking lots? The passes could be slightly cheaper than regular parking passes, and students with long-term passes would be allowed only to park in those lots, exchanging the savings of $20 or $30 for the understanding they’d have to hoof it a bit if they wanted to get their car for a weekend trip to Bloomington, or their winter pilgrimage home.

Filling these lots with infrequently used cars would free up spaces on campus for freedom-craving students willing to pay more. Students with cars parked at Bloomington Street might realize the walk to Dairy Castle isn’t as far as they thought and decide not to drive at all. Students living in duplexes with cars behind College Street might opt to carpool rather than drive separately.

We might not be aware of all this plan’s potential implications and complications. But we think this would benefit campus by minimizing the number of campus-cluttering cars and opening a cheaper alternative for student parking. Maybe it’s a deceptively simple idea, but we think it could work.

Write the editorial board at edboard@thedepauw.com.

— See Tuesday’s issue of The DePauw for a story about the Student Government white paper on faculty parking fees.

— Macy Ayers did not contribute to this editorial since she is vice president of academic life for DePauw Student Government.