As I begin my third semester here I can’t help but to reflect on the various travesties that come with parking here at the University. As someone who makes a 40 minute drive to campus every day I have class, it may be the worst part of being a student at URI.
Lots are overcrowded, distant and expensive. I can’t help but become aggravated as I shell out another $190 for a year long commuter parking pass. My choice is to buy the pass or not be able to attend the classes that cost over $6,000 a semester.
I’m sure there is some bureaucratic red tape kind of reason for not lumping the cost of parking right into the already exorbitant cost of my education, but I can’t imagine it being good. Asking students who have paid a course fee, technology fee, registration fee and health services fee, to go outside of all that to an independent retailer to pay for a sticker that allows me to simply park on campus is ludicrous.
It’s a catch-22, I have to park on campus to attend classes that cost thousands of dollars, but I can’t park on campus unless I pay for the privilege to do so. I can see the reasoning in charging residents for parking since having a car isn’t strictly necessary for them to get from home to class, but those who live off campus don’t have that option.
We all know how easily the cost of books, supplies, and the other of daily college life add up, especially when you take on almost $200 just to put your car in a spot for a few hours.
A spot, let me remind you, that is almost a mile away from class and at the bottom of a steep hill. The few who manage to snatch the comparatively small number of spots at the top of campus must do so by showing up on campus by 7:30 a.m.
The college does employ shuttles to make it easier for students to get from their cars to class, but they come with one staggering flaw. They stop running before classes stop being held. For example, I have a class that ends at 7:30 p.m. this semester, which is a full 15 minutes after the shuttles stop running.
Some would suggest I move my car up to a closer spot before my last class, an idea that might work if my class didn’t start at 4 p.m. You see, students aren’t allowed to park in many of the closer lots usually reserved for faculty and staff until after 5 p.m.
This forces me to either showing up on campus by 7 a.m. to get a spot on Upper College Road or taking a long, dark walk from the top of campus down to the Flagg Road lot after my classes finally end. All that for the low, low price of just $190.