This is my first year living off-campus. I spent my first three years at the University of Rhode Island hearing how parking at URI is terrible. The lots are too small, Plains is too far away, parking services is full of angry, mean employees and more. Sound familiar?
However, in my time living off campus, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the parking situation on campus. Parking isn’t the three-headed monster it’s been made out to be since I got to URI. Instead, it’s the students that are the problem.
Hot take. I’m sure I just pissed off nearly everyone reading this. I’ll live with that. But let me explain why parking isn’t bad here. I’ll do this through three steps: facilities, convenience and attitude/effort.
I’ll start by conceding a point right away. There SHOULD be more parking on campus. Fine Arts and the Church lot are relatively small, and the on-street parking is limited at best. The new residence hall that is being constructed ate up an entire parking lot, and rather than building a new parking lot on campus, Keaney was divided into two sections, resident and commuter. A parking lottery was also introduced to eliminate some students bringing their cars to campus.
That being said, there is still plenty of parking on campus. I’ve never forgotten a conversation I had with a faculty member at URI, and a quote from him has always stood out to me. He remarked that when he’s driving into work every day he always sees empty parking spaces available in Plains. He’s right, Plains is never full. If students drove around Plains trying to find a spot like they do in Fine Arts, I’m sure every student would realize just how easy it is to park on campus.
So the facilities could be better, but they’re more than serviceable. “But Plains is SO far from campus. It’s like, a 15 minute walk to class, which is just too much!” Give me a break. This campus is more than walkable, and Plains isn’t really that far. However, because Plains is further than Church or Fine Arts, URI has shuttles that routinely run from all over campus back to Plains. When it’s pouring rain out I’ll actually park in Plains, even if there’s plenty of parking in Fine Arts, because I can hop on the shuttle and stay dry. If I park in Fine Arts or Church I always show up to class soaking wet.
Alright, so we have serviceable facilities, and parking in Plains isn’t as inconvenient as everyone makes it out to be. But by far and away the biggest issue with parking on campus is everyone’s attitudes. I’ll keep my friends anonymous, but I have two stories that I feel demonstrate the attitude with parking on campus.
I have a friend who is ALWAYS late to class. When he walks in he always says the same thing. “Well, I couldn’t find any parking so I had to park in Plains.” Isn’t that what Plains is for? Parking? He refuses to park in a lot specifically for students, and it makes him late for class.
He’s not the only one. Another friend of mine joked in class that parking on campus costs $285, plus tickets. If there is always parking available on campus, why take a parking ticket? The fact of the matter is that URI students refuse to park in lots and spaces available to them because they’re too lazy to park there. It’s too inconvenient for them.
While I’m more than receptive of the fact that sometimes you’re late for class, or are only going to be on campus for a few minutes, most people detest parking in Plains simply because it is too far. But the fact of the matter remains that parking on campus isn’t that bad. It’s fine the way it is. The only thing that needs to change is the attitude students have about parking.