Our society today relies heavily on automobiles to transport us everywhere we go. As a student of the University of Rhode Island, I am aware that our campus is heavily populated with students and faculty flowing on and off campus every day. Many people at URI are angered at the inconvenience that the recent problem causes in relation to last year’s parking situation, when there were no significant issues at all. Students around campus are now struggling because the University’s Parking Services reduced the Keaney commuter lot nearly in half over the summer. To help increase student satisfaction and reduce parking related stress, I propose that the University assigns a section of Keaney for carpool cars. This may motivate students to travel to campus together, therefore making spots available for commuters who need to drive alone. 

This topic is not only relevant to commuters, but also to the University as a whole. Each section of the Keaney Lot is designated to different types of parking that is separated by signs and boundaries. The Keaney Lot now holds spots for commuters, residents and their newly added Greek parking. A large portion of the assigned commuter lot was transferred into a resident lot as well. Unknowingly, students who purchased Greek parking passes before the fall 2019 semester are now designated to park in the Keaney Lot. This is because many parking spots previously available in Fraternity Circle were stripped due to current construction and future building plans. 

I am choosing to write about this problem occurring on campus because I know how many of my peers it affects. There are students who are unable to find parking, despite the fact that they have purchased parking passes, and in turn have missed their classes due to the lot being full. Students and athletes have reported their difficulties finding parking before their workouts at Mackal Fieldhouse. One student athlete, junior Matt Leake, worries that when he and the majority of his powerlifting team members at URI commute, they will not be able to park for practice all at once. 

While the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Transportation and Parking have stated that commuters can park in lots on Keaney Road, Plains Road, behind the Fine Arts Center and at different street areas on campus, these all require purchasing a $125 parking pass per semester. Many of these assigned regions are out of the way from classes and are not the conditions that these students had originally anticipated. I think that the University should be making more effort to accommodate all of their students.

To please the campus community, I advocate that the University creates a ‘Carpool Cars Only’ area located in our Keaney lot. This may encourage students to carpool with others to campus, and will also get them a better spot instead of parking in lots that are further away. Influencing people to travel with others will save them money, help the environment and reduce traffic on the roads of Rhode Island. 

Some people may not want this created because they initially think it may take up even more spots, but ultimately this will make more areas available if a group of people carpool together. To enforce this, Parking Services looked into using a software such as RideAmigos, which is a tool for creating and managing company-wide carpooling. This platform can also be used for matching riders around campus to travel together for a more effective plan. 

With the many renovations and continuous activities that happen around campus throughout the year, it would be difficult to ask the University to increase the size of their parking areas, although I understand how frustrating this situation may be to those unable to park on campus. Instead, I think designating a carpool section in the Keaney lot is a great alternative that has many benefits. The University of Rhode Island’s main goal is to educate all of its enrolled students, and they can accomplish this by accommodating their parking needs to attend class and other obligations.