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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Parking permits pose problems

Published: September 3, 2010
Section: Opinions

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

This past summer I drove approximately 1,500 miles to bring my car from Minneapolis, Minn. to Waltham, Mass. It was a long journey, stopping first in New Jersey and then trekking up to Brandeis for the year. Beforehand, I followed all the steps necessary to gain a parking permit. I applied last May, answering questions such as where I would be living this year (presumably to determine where I would park) and providing information about my car.

Last week I arrived at Brandeis, parked my car in the residence lot by my building and waited patiently for Sept. 2 to roll around so I could finally get my parking permit. I went, waited in line and was then informed that sophomores are only given Charles River lot parking permits. Sophomores don’t even live in the Charles River apartments, and yet that is where we park.

Sophomores parking in Charles River lot made sense … when sophomores were allowed to live in the Charles River apartments. This year, no sophomore is allowed to live in the Charles River Apartments, which is actually near the parking lot. Sophomores live in East, Castle, Rosenthal, Village A, first-years quads and 567 South Street. Two of those, Village and 567, are at least somewhat near Charles River. But the sophomores living in East, Castle, and North are about as far as can be.

Sure, Seniors and Juniors should get priority for parking on campus, it’s a perk of being an upperclassmen. That being said, entire lots should not be arbitrarily reserved for students that may not have even applied for permits yet.

In my previous experience with parking permits in high school, permits were first come, first served with seniority determining when a student could apply. If a senior didn’t apply during their head start, they had to wait in the same line as everyone else. If a sophomore a few spots ahead got the last choice space, the senior had to deal with it.

If a student applies for a permit in May, regardless of year designation, they should have the opportunity to get a better parking spot than a student that applies over the summer or when school resumes.

Another factor to consider is price. Some seniors or juniors might want to park in Charles River lot because it is four times cheaper (at $60) than parking on campus (at $250). Some may say “at least you have a car,” and their point is valid, however the value of having a car is significantly reduced when access to said car is not readily available.