Parking: an ever-escalating nightmare

Every year I come to campus and hope for the same thing: an easier time parking. The University of Alabama has been one of the fastest-growing campuses in the nation in terms of student population, yet our parking situation fails to reflect this. So the cycle continues: more students and thus, less available parking. While the infrastructure of Tuscaloosa is less than ideal, the infrastructure of campus doesn’t have to be.

One of the biggest issues with parking happens every Friday night before a game day. It seems that as soon as the sun starts setting, workers in white parking enforcement polos rope off almost every parking lot around campus, making it almost impossible for students to have any realistic way of getting where they need to.

With such a problem, it begs the question as to why we don’t simply revert back to early morning towing of cars that have failed to vacate lots. It seems like it would save money for the University. Instead of the school paying parking lot workers, students found in violation of parking would just be towed the next day and would be responsible for paying for it themselves.

This arrangement is terrible for businesses around campus as well. No one should have to park a mile away from a restaurant at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Instead of enjoying the unique cuisines offered on a gameday weekend, we all stay inside and order Dominos, where we can just use our dining dollars and have food brought to us.

The overwhelming support for off-campus housing – evidenced by the University allowing apartment complexes to table in the Ferguson Center – has created an air of hypocrisy in the lack of accommodations by the University for off-campus students to come on campus.

As far as creating more parking spots goes, it would be unfair to expect any immediate results, but for every new building we construct, we should also make the appropriate parking accommodations. As fantastic as Alabama scholarships are, few can afford to pay a $50 fine because he or she has given up on finding (a parking spot.)

This doesn’t always come to the forefront as the biggest issue on campus, but I would wager that it’s in the back of most students’ minds, especially those who live off campus. As long as the University fails to create better options, businesses will suffer, and the should-be-exciting experience of coming to celebrate our game days will be crippled.

Eric Roddy is a senior majoring in philosophy on the pre-med track. His column runs biweekly.

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