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Editorial: Parking on campus

Year after year, parking on Clemson University’s campus finds its way into our headlines. Earlier this month, we reported on the concerns students expressed to Parking and Transportation Services and their reply. Clemson understands that for some people parking earlier this semester was “overwhelming”, according to an email sent.
Parking as a commuter on campus is not easy, but this is in part by design. Since Clemson’s framework plan in 2017, there has been an initiative to minimize parking demand by encouraging off-campus students to walk, bike or take transit rather than drive to campus.
This is a good long-term goal, but what about now?
The infrastructure in Clemson is not built up enough for this yet. Bike lanes on roads are spotty at best, including outside of campus along Old Greenville Highway and Tiger Boulevard. CATbus and Tiger Transit busses fill during peak times, leaving commuters waiting for the next bus. And while some communities have private shuttles or access to a bus route, others do not.
This problem is also exacerbated by the number of students living off-campus. A majority of students live off-campus, according to Clemson Home. If there were more housing on-campus to support residents who would rather not drive, this would ease parking demand and improve the situation for commuters.
Granted, creating more on-campus housing is part of Clemson’s future plans and will not happen overnight. However, Clemson’s objective to minimize parking demand should be approached in a different way. Driving to campus should not become so much more difficult that it becomes unfeasible; instead, efforts should be made to simplify other transit options for commuters.
One solution that could reduce parking issues is to push the resident lots out further and bring the commuter lots in. For example, the R-7, R-8 and R-8 extension lots are three resident lots right behind Douthit. These lots are the closest resident lots when compared to west and east resident parking.
Since residents are not using their cars daily to drive to class, lots such as these could be made into commuter lots for easy access to the College of Business building and north campus. Furthermore, since residents do not need access to their cars as frequently, there could be an option provided for residents to purchase a Park-N-Ride pass to retrieve their cars instead of commuters.
Would this solve the parking problem once and for all? No, likely not. But it could relieve parking demand for the next few years until more long-term initiatives are ready. That way, we can all avoid feeling overwhelmed.

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