Blue lot special excludes students

Students, students everywhere

Driving in daylight and in dark,

Students, students everywhere

Can’t find a place to park.

My apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but I think it conveys the sentiment. There’s always been a parking space shortage on this campus, but thanks to various construction projects, it’s worse than ever this fall.

My special thanks go out to the Operating Staff Council. Earlier this summer I discovered that I was eligible for a pretty prestigious parking permit. However, when the permit arrived in the mail, it wasn’t the color I had been led to believe I would be receiving. Understandably upset and confused, I went to Campus Parking Services for an explanation and, I hoped, a replacement permit.

Well, it turns out that the permit offer had been reneged. They just changed their minds. Just like that. The “act of compassion” extended so graciously to graduate students was actually an “ax.” So much for administrative sympathy for students. Wait—what was I thinking? This is NIU!

Okay, it wasn’t all the administration’s fault. I’m pleased and all that this construction will improve the quality of life on this campus, but letting construction workers park in blue lots is really complicating the situation. They bump out faculty, faculty bump us out.

Anyway, so here we are, thousands upon thousands of NIU students, faculty and staff all competing for space. The funny thing is, we all have permits entitling us to park. Somewhere.

The problem is Parking Services doles out permits far in excess of actual spots. For students and others with non-reserved spaces, spots are first-come, first-served. Hence, the heated race for spaces. People drive around desperately watching for reverse lights and follow people walking who look like they’re leaving. It actually gets a little psychotic.

Yes, we do have a parking deck under construction. Of course, I’ll be long gone before that baby’s finished. I only hope everyone benefits from it, not just certain blue permit holders, yet we all know that NIU privileges are selective.

But what do we do in the meantime? Obviously the situation must be addressed immediately so we can concentrate on what we’re really here for, whatever that is.

First of all, faculty members do deserve decent parking spots. They pay more for their permits and a good many of them commute from outside of DeKalb. So instead of robbing professors of their spaces, new ones need to be created. This is not as hard as it sounds because the campus itself provides a plethora of parking opportunities.

— Turn Lucinda Avenue into a parallel-parking strip. This plan would fit in easily with the current traffic flow and no one would run over the pretty flowers that will someday decorate the much-needed meridian.

— Fill in both lagoons and pave them over. Who really cares about ecology and scenery? So what if we displace a few dozen ducks and geese? They have always been a thorn in the side of NIU and just won’t fly the coop.

— Park in the Huskie Stadium. I’m sure our recently-installed synthetic playing field could withstand several hundred vehicles. Plus, with our Huskie football team entering a new division, watching parked cars probably would be far less painful.

— Make the MLK Commons into a lot. They can install a light on top of the, uh, statue for traffic control. And all the cars would help cover unsightly vegetation growing through the concrete.

— Build ramps into those construction trenches. Many cars could fit into the huge ditches they keep digging for cables, etc. Underground parking is a very hip thing, plus it’s space-efficient.

So you see, there are many solutions to the parking problem. All it takes it some creativity with the resources available. Students could save time and gas; driving around desperately and cursing the administration would be a thing of the past. And I could pen a new poem:

Students, students everywhere

Thanks to parking innovation

Students, students everywhere

Don’t annoy the administration.