Baker parking passes are too restrictive

Cassidy Woods ('18)

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I am a senior and live in Baker Village. To my excitement, this is the first year I have ever had a car on campus and was overjoyed by the possibility to frequent Walmart at my own leisure, the ability to drive home at a moment’s notice, to have greater campus accessibility, and the occasional drive through the Decorah countryside. To my dismay, I have been thoroughly disappointed by the Motor Vehicle Registration and Parking Program at Luther. There are distinct sources of my frustrations, and upon talking to my fellow Baker-ites, apartment-inians, and Prairie Housers, I’ve decided to write into Chips in hopes of sparking conversation and change about a frustration many seem to share.

First of all, the Baker “B permit” parking pass is incredibly limiting. We can only park in the city pool lot, the Regents Center lot, and Baker Village parking areas. While the Vehicle Registration and Parking website claims that the program is designed to provide “the achievement of as equitable an arrangement as possible for allocating parking privileges to students on the basis of residence in relation to distance from campus,” it feels as though there is not much thought going towards the off-campus residents in Baker Village. Besides apartments and commuters, Baker residents live the farthest from campus (to my knowledge) yet are only given the privilege to the lots on the outskirts of campus. For those of us who have classes in Larsen Hall, Loyalty Hall, Main, Okham, the Center for Fine Arts (CFA), and Jenson Noble, this does not really help us all that much.

Last week, many members of the Baker community found their cars adorned with small yellow parking tickets for parking on adjacent public streets, including High Street, Leif Erickson, North Street, Ohio Street, Center Street, Ridge Road, and Riverview Street. General parking passes, issued to students living anywhere on campus, can park on all of those streets, as well as the library, Jenson, Larsen, Farwell, Olson, City Pool lot, and Regents Center lots. General pass holders, because they live on campus, do not have as much of a need for that many options. It also seems unfair and confusing that Baker residents can not park on public roads, despite having done so for years and having more of a need to do so than general pass holders.

Additionally, many Baker residents find themselves on campus from early in the morning to late in the evening. Regarding the location of the parking lots to the rest of campus, this often means a long walk in the dark to get back to our vehicles. The walk from campus to the available lots are very poorly lit. With increased campus safety alerts, I often do not feel safe making this walk, nor do I want to have to call security every time I need to run to our vehicles or every single night when I finish my studies or extracurricular activities.

In my discussions with other off-campus residents, we have brainstormed multiple solutions. These include being able to park on adjacent streets, contacting Student Senate to make policy changes, making Farwell/Storre lot available for parking, making the Jenson lot an off-campus/commuter lot, a Baker-to-campus hourly security shuttle, greatly reduced parking pass rates due to how limited our options are, or opening the first row of the library lot for off-campus parking. These are just ideas, some more realistic than others.

Most of the time, we walk. On days with inclement weather, particularly long days, or when we are running late, my roommates and I have driven onto campus and simply want more and/or better options for our vehicles.

Cassidy Woods (‘18)

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