I’ll be the first to admit that when I have to drive in circles in Lot M for 20 minutes every morning looking for a parking spot, it ruins my day. Why is this happening, you might ask? Because lo and behold: Binghamton University’s parking lots have become a premium service. The solution, however, might be easier than expected.
The parking lots are a savage hellscape, a lawless wasteland where every person must fend for themselves. There are drivers going 40 mph in the parking lot, fender benders at every corner and people honking their horns like they get a paycheck every time they use it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In recent history, it was realized that the student body is dissatisfied with BU’s parking situation. Sixty-seven percent of BU students said so in a 2016 survey (and you can count me in the majority). But when was this realized, exactly? Two years ago. And yet I still find myself having to arrive 40 minutes before class if I want a chance of finding a decent spot.
I could spend my time wagging my finger at the administration, but this is a case where I think it would be counterproductive. BU has attempted to address the issue. It has developed meaningful plans to remediate the problem, including the creation of 200 new parking spaces just this year. But the problem persists. So, what gives?
Having lived in Binghamton this summer, I was privy to the quality of driving with and without students. Turns out, we really suck behind the wheel, but even worse, there are too many of us! The number of vehicles on campus in the early afternoon is quite frankly nothing short of bonkers. Pipe Dream recently reported on the over-scheduling of Tuesday/Thursday classes, and the exceedingly high congestion in the parking lots speak to that. As someone who only has classes those days, it’s driven me to seek out better options, and I’ve found a few. It would be too much to ask my fellow students to abandon their cars, so instead, I ask this: Can you take the damn bus?
Public transportation is a terrific (and might I add, free) alternative to commuting. No gas, no accidents, no road rage — just a cool ride in a sick blue bus. Plus, imagine the serenity of a daytime bus ride: no puke sloshing around your feet! The Off Campus College Transport bus system is reliable enough to outweigh the negatives of taking your own vehicle to and fro, especially on the more congested commutes. Another excellent option is carpooling, which BU has incentivized with access to a paid lot and partial reimbursements. If you stop by the information booth with three total student occupants, you are permitted to park in the Visitor’s Paid Lot or the Parking Garage. Even better, if you carpool 35 times in an academic year, you are entitled to a $25 check.
By volunteering to ride the bus or carpooling, not only are we doing something good for ourselves, but something good for everyone. With collective effort, maybe we’ll live to see the day where Lot M is a little less ruthless. So the next time you’ve got a big day ahead of you, don’t stress over parking; hitch a ride with a friend or hop on your friendly blue bus.
Evan Moravansky is a junior majoring in English.