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Parking problems on campus could be solved with shuttles, expanded lots


October 18, 2017

Parking is one of the issues on campus that pretty much everyone complains about at some point in time. The problems typically involve the price of parking passes and the lack of available spaces, and the issues with parking most acutely affect students that commute from out of town.

The options available to people seeking to park are limited; people can pay $1 an hour to park in a pay lot, or try to find spots elsewhere in town. There isn’t much free parking, and it’s typically very far away from campus. In the warmer months it’s less of a hassle, but Midwest winters are frigid and unpleasant for students walking from halfway across town to class. Student parking can also cause a problem for local business owners, who need the limited spaces downtown for their customers.

One of the simplest solutions would be to implement a standard parking pass that grants students access to any lot on campus. This would eliminate empty spots in certain lots near dorms, and reduce the amount of tickets given out to students parking in an incorrect lot.

The larger issue at work is a lack of space, which is not an easy one to solve. UW-River Falls campus is mostly enclosed on all sides by the rest of town or busy roads. There is not much room to expand outward, so more creative options will have to be explored. Our suggestion is to use the space currently occupied by Karges Center, which the university is planning to tear down in the coming year and convert to green space. While the university may already have plans for that space, we believe that parking is a pressing matter that could easily be improved with this plan.

Beyond creating new parking space on campus, we also propose that UWRF could explore the possibility of shuttle services. The Falcon Center already has a lot of parking space, but it goes largely unused because of its distance from the rest of campus. That space is also needed during games, but during the school day it could be put to use as a commuter lot. Students could park their car in the lot and be shuttled by a van to central points on campus like the University Center or North Hall.

Taking the shuttle idea further, UWRF could set up a system that eliminates the need for students to drive into town entirely. Since there’s a good number of students that come from the Hudson and Twin Cities area, it would likely be worth the gas to set up a system that connects UWRF with any of the free park and ride spaces in Hudson. Not only would this allow students from out of town to get to campus without the burden of parking their car, but it would also give students on campus easier access to Hudson.

While the issue of parking can’t be solved overnight, there are options that UWRF could explore. We encourage the university to take this issue seriously, as it is one of the most common complaints that students discuss on a daily basis.