By Drew Matlovsky
It’s never going to get better. It won’t. No matter how much we moan or pout, parking on campus isn’t going to change. It will always be a colossal waste of time, a gargantuan mess and a bureaucratic quagmire that rivals the DMV for incompetency.
Why is parking on campus like the experience of finding a parking spot at IKEA on a busy Saturday? Due to a variety of reasons, Lewis & Clark cannot and does not want to build any more parking lots. We own the land behind us and we have the ability to feasibly expand our parking to accommodate more commuter students, faculty and staff. However, the neighborhood association is putting up much resistance to us expanding our parking. We are in a residential neighborhood and so it’s difficult to get anything new done without their permission. However, the school should take more action to secure better parking for its students. As a student, if you arrive on campus past 10 in the morning, you will never find parking. Upper Griswold is always reserved for law students, who also suffer from this problem. So, all of lower Griswold will be taken up by non-law students. Spots next to the dorms are full by those who live on campus and drive. And those who work in Templeton or the Frank Manor House, who arrive at work before 9 a.m., will secure the crème de la crème locations: right by Templeton and Akin. So of course, your only option, if you’re even lucky enough to find a spot, is to park on the graduate campus. Yes, that place.
If you are “blessed” with having your first class after 9 a.m., you will have to really hustle to make it from the graduate campus on time. I have timed it. It is a brisk 11 minute walk from the Graduate school to your Miller classroom. And pray your class isn’t in Evans, as you might as well camp out in the music room the night before. And don’t you even dare to think about parking close by in the neighborhood. You’ll get ticketed.
Is LC aware of this problem? Of course. Parking issues go back into the 1960’s with students complaining about increased prices and, you guessed it, lack of parking spots. As our campus expanded, parking did as well. There used to be a parking lot where Howard and Olin are today. Our college also had a smaller student body than it does now — if the Bon lines weren’t a telltale sign. Of course, parking was still a problem back then, and was only exacerbated over the past 30 years as new classrooms were built, and our student body increased in size. To its credit, LC has combated these issues by offering incentives to carpool, expanding its shuttle program and most recently offering subsidized pricing for TriMet passes. LC has also been trying to build a new dorm wing and push for an increased residency requirement, which would alleviate its car problem by having fewer commuter students.
These may be noble steps, but LC parking woes are systemic problems, ones caused by geography and, unfortunately, its growing student body. Until we all bike to work, which we should be doing anyway, or someone steps up and convinces the neighbors to let us build a new parking lot, we’re going to be living in a pretty dismal situation. So no, you can’t park there. It’s reserved.