Road Rage

I am a student. I own a piece of crap that some would venture to label an “automobile.” I need this four wheeled contraption to take me to work, to take me to friends houses, to take me to the mountains to hike and ski, and to generally make my life a little more bearable.

About every other day, I trudge out into Vermont’s negative-twenty degree weather, bust out the ice scraper, brush and scrape my way into my car, start it and wait about ten minutes while it de-fogs and de-ices, and then go to my respective destination. It is a far cry from just opening the door at my parent’s house and going on my merry way, but I realize that I must make sacrifices at college so that others may have their vehicles at school as well. I am perfectly willing to cooperate- within reason. Last Saturday I went through the process for what must be the 30th time this season.

I left my parking spot for about ten or fifteen minutes to travel down to the Springflower market on Route 7. When I returned, as I would have expected, my parking spot was taken by someone else. “Oh, well,” I thought, “I’ll just have to park in the Wing-side lot instead.” Not so. The Wing-side lot on Redstone campus was full. As was the lot up the road. In fact, there was no parking spots on Redstone campus whatsoever that I could have parked in.

Now, I was getting angry. Those of you readers who have met me would not typically describe me as a violent or aggressive kind of guy (except on tequila night), but I was literally beating the crap out of my (already bedraggled) car’s steering wheel. I avoid malls at home for two reasons: 1) I do not like the smell. And 2) I hate finding a goddamn parking spot. Living in Wilks hall has become, at least in the aspect of parking, like living at a mall that is perpetually stuck in time two days before Christmas. Not to mention the smell. Just kidding.

When I contacted parking services, they notified me that Saturday was a sporting event day (hockey game, GO CATS!). Since it was designated so, I would kindly be permitted to park in Gutterson Lot for a period of twenty-four hours in the event that all of my designated lots were filled. I was also informed that parking permits do not actually entitle students to a parking space. They entitle us to the opportunity to use specific parking lots designated by the University for student vehicles. Furthermore, I could return my pass by four o’clock THAT DAY if I really wanted to.

Otherwise, I was screwed paying $107 for a piece of plastic that entitled me to an opportunity to drive around for fifteen minutes every other day being very pissed off. Parking in the Gutterson lot sounds like a nice gesture, but in actuality, this parking lot would take more time to get to, park in, and walk back to Wilks from than waiting around for a half hour for a parking spot to open up, not to mention I would be a hell of a lot warmer. I did not pay $215 dollars for this. Had I known, I would have made them pay me money not to get medieval on their asses for offering me such a shoddy deal.

Aside from my personal issues with UVM Parking services, I would like to note the abundance of potholes all around campus. There is a crater the size of Huntington gorge behind Davis Hall. My tires, from driving over this behemoth of a chasm, must be refilled almost weekly. And there are many more than just this.

I am also aware that due to recent construction, many students’ cars have been displaced. Tyler George-Minetti, a UVM student who recently had his permit changed, states, “It feels like they are trying to make it very inconvenient for students to park. It seems like they just want to make money with parking tickets. That’s really what it feels like…

They charge us 200 bucks a year for parking permits, and then charge us for an inconvenience that they created. It feels like it’s an ‘us versus them’ situation.” This is not the only negative account of parking difficulties I have heard. “My beef is that I should be able to park in front of the dorm that I live in. We want reform, damn it,” said Dan Wilf, a resident of Slade Hall. These two strapping young lads are just two of many, many disgruntled students walking around campus these days.

A University parking service should not operate on an “us versus them” premise. Although there may be certain difficulties that arise with construction work around campus, every effort should be made to accommodate the people who actually matter at this university – the student body. The students who buy parking permits are paying customers of both UVM and Parking Services, and should be treated as such. After all, the customer is always right.