Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint

Portney’s Complaint

Devon Portney

You know what I hate? I hate arriving at the entrance of a parking lot on campus, seeing the orange cones that have closed the lot, and then driving past the lot to see six or seven spots open.

With all the political issues and whatnot happening in the world around us, it seems trivial to discuss the parking troubles on campus. But that’s what I’m going to do. After all, the simple, everyday things in life can drive us crazy too.

Last year when the garages were closed, I was very impressed by how much auxiliary parking the school came up with. Granted, some of the lots require a walk, but considering the situation I thought they did a pretty decent job of providing enough parking. Maybe that was only because I got here early. Or more likely, parking seemed to work because enrollment was low last semester. In fact, many classes were cancelled due to under-enrollment, and CPCS took a hit when 13 professors were let go, causing several classes to be cancelled.

This semester enrollment is way up. It shows in the parking lots. Cars circle the campus on University Avenue over and over again, hoping to find a lot still open. If you get here any time between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., you might find yourself driving around campus two or three times before you can enter a lot. The UMass Boston police are stationed at every lot, ready to re-open the lots when spots become available. Almost ready. I was told that they check the lots every few minutes, but I somehow fail to see this. The lots almost always have several spots available while they are still closed. And when I circle the campus and arrive there again, the lot is still closed, and spots are still available! Parking is already so frustrating, and people with mid-morning classes are often late. Why must we be forced to circle the campus like vultures?

Last week, after passing the closed North lot and seeing several available parking spaces, I re-circled, hoping that the lot would be open soon. Seeing that it wasn’t, and with the officer was parked right on the grass, I pulled over and called to him out my window. He got out of the car to listen to me. “There are spots open, could you open the lot?” I asked. “You can’t stop traffic like that, ma’am, please keep moving.” That was the answer I got. Those of us who drive shouldn’t be persecuted because we don’t live near a T station.

We pay $6 a day to park (even if we leave sooner, because now all the lots are a flat rate). Recently I was forced to park in the short-term parking lot, because it was the only one open. The normal rates here at UMass Boston were $3 for a half-hour, $5 for an hour, and $6 for 90 minutes or more. In the short-term lot, 90 minutes or more will run you $12.

Twelve dollars for an hour and a half?!? You can find cheaper parking downtown.

Today, while I circled the lots to find parking, I saw the North lot again was closed. As I passed the rest of the lot, I noticed many spots open, and more opening as a line of cars waited at the exit booths. No one was around at all. After coming back around, I saw that the lot was still not opened. After the third round, the man in the car in front of me got out and moved the cones himself. But I found myself wondering: would anyone have re-opened the lot at all? It was already emptying, yet no one was watching it to remove the cones from the entrance.

I find this goes back to what I was talking about last week. Are we students viewed as second-class citizens in the UMass Boston nation? Do our needs not matter? Is it because we pay state college tuition, and therefore don’t turn the funds necessary to warrant more regard and consideration? I urge all of you who drive to think about this, and not stand for it.

No one really cares if we are late to class, or have to walk a half-mile to our cars at 10 at night. And I guess no one cares about how we get from the lots to the campus either, since the only discernable paths for us to walk are etched out footprints in slush, ice and mud. And since many lots force people to walk a hill, the icy, muddy, slush doesn’t provide the kind of traction one needs to reach their destination without slipping, sliding, or falling. One thing you can do is to take the T if you are able. The shuttle bus from JFK is actually very convenient, and it gives first-class service. You’ll be dropped much closer to the school by the bus than you will ever be with your car. And you’ll save yourself some money, too.