EDITORIAL: Campus parking is unimportant worry
Inconvenience is not strong enough argument
In recent years, there has been a decreasing amount of parking on the College Avenue campus, partially resulting from certain improvements and additions to campus buildings, such as the construction of Rutgers Hillel and the Sojourner Truth Apartments. Additionally, the creation of bus lanes on College Avenue pursuant to Rutgers’ Transportation Master Plan eliminated the option for meter parking on the street. These things resulted in displacement of parking spaces and has made it increasingly more difficult for students to park their cars conveniently near their place of residence, which has become a common and understandable complaint among students at Rutgers—New Brunswick.
Some campuses, especially the College Avenue campus as previously shown, are extremely difficult to find reasonable parking on, which forces students to purchase parking passes for a campus separate from the one they live on and entails them taking a bus every time they need to use their cars — which to some defeats the purpose of buying a parking pass for potentially hundreds of dollars to begin with.
Likely one of the main reasons that students want to use their cars to get around on campus is the fact that Rutgers’ bus system can be so frustrating. In fact, students seem to complain significantly more about the bus system than they do about the lack of parking. But what they fail to realize is that their complaints and arguments for why there should be more available and feasible parking is self-undermining in that if these same students who want to drive to class simply did not, there would be significantly less traffic in New Brunswick. It’s simple, less cars on the road entails less traffic. So by asking for more ways to easily use your car because the bus system is suboptimal, you are only making the bus issues worse.
What the University needs to do, then, is to more effectively incentivize students to use the buses properly and to utilize the bike-share system. “Using buses properly,” means not taking the bus for one stop — from the College Avenue Student Center to Scott Hall. This congests the buses, and congestion on the buses is one of the main reasons they are so unbearable. If those one-stop culprits would simply walk or utilize the bike-share system, the buses may be more bearable for those who need to use them. Incentivization may work as a simple reward, like small cash prizes or certain academic privileges like priority registration for one of their classes (to allow them to take a class on the same campus that they live on) — these are obviously just prima facie suggestions. Additionally though, the stigma around riding one’s bike must be eliminated. Bikes are extremely practical and can conceivably help reduce traffic and bus congestion significantly.
All in all, inconvenience does not seem to be a strong argument for more parking. First of all, there are many inconveniences in life, and students should maybe learn to cope with them. Second of all, time, resources and energy are likely better spent focused on a different issue — like the growth and expansion of our University’s academic programs. And third of all, parking is not a be-all end-all in terms of maintaining a positive student experience. One of the University's goals is to retain students by offering them said positive student experiences, but this can be done in better ways — like the previously mentioned continued growth and expansion of our academic programs.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.