Parking Pitfalls: The Parking Deck

Cassidy Fuller

Washington and Lee by all definitions is a small school. We have around 1,800 undergraduate students and any class is within a five minute walk from another.

Because of our small campus size, walking is one of the best means of transportation, especially considering more than half of the student body lives on campus. For the upperclassmen who live further off campus, walking is not always an option and they often need to drive to and from their classes.

If an upperclassmen needs to drive to school instead of walk, the parking deck located next to the gym is one of the only places on campus for them to park. Sophomores living in Woods Creek apartments have a parking lot located next to their buildings and freshman have their own lot near the Ruins.

The parking deck is strictly reserved for school faculty, staff and any upperclassmen who have purchased a parking permit. Even though the parking deck has four floors, it has always been difficult to find a spot to park during the school week and, unfortunately, it has become nearly impossible to find one this year.

With the construction of the new third-year housing well underway, a good deal of the freshman lot has been taken over by construction crews.

To accommodate for the smaller lot, first years have started to park in the parking deck instead of parking near the Tennis Center. The walk from the Tennis Center is about five minutes longer than the walk from the freshman lot.

I understand that first years need somewhere to park on campus if they brought a car, but it should not be at the expense of the upperclassmen.

If someone lives off campus and drives to school everyday, they expect that when they arrive at the parking deck they will be able to find a spot, park and get to class on time. If they fail to find a spot, they must then search around campus or in town for a spot, which can add an extra 25 minutes to their daily commute.

Since all first-years are required to live on campus, there is not as great of a need for them to have their cars close by during the week.

Yes, the walk to the freshman lot and the Tennis Center does take around 10 minutes or more depending on where a student lives, but if they are using their cars less than once a day then first-years should not be allowed to park in the parking deck. There is a reason that the parking deck is reserved for upperclassmen; they are the ones who may need to drive to campus everyday.

Public Safety does fine cars who fail to possess the right permit for each lot; there is a $25 fine. Beyond that, we should take it upon ourselves to park in the proper lots.

Administration should consider adding more parking closer to campus for undergraduates who need to use their cars on a more regular basis. As for upperclassmen who have to drive to campus daily, they should be guaranteed a parking spot on campus so that they never have to worry about finding a spot in time for class.

In general, upperclassmen need to have priority when it comes to parking since they are the ones who use their cars the most. If we were a commuter campus it would be understandable that people should be able to park where they want regardless of grade, but since two grades, soon to be three, live on campus, those who live off campus should have priority parking.