We’ve all heard students grumbling about walking by empty spaces in the Greylock parking lot while they make their way to retrieve their lower-Mission-doomed cars. What these grumbling students may not fully realize is that the College has deliberately relegated their vehicles to the fringes of campus in order to dissuade driving through sheer inconvenience. While we certainly believe there is validity to a policy that would reduce excessive driving on campus, the College should handle the situation with both efficiency and practicality in mind – something it hasn’t done so far.
The Greylock Parking Complex presents the most egregious case of the College’s attempts to limit campus traffic. The Complex is currently off-limits to students, despite the fact that the original plan intended to reserve 109 spaces for students. The priority given to the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance is understandable, but numbers show that even with the maximum zoning spots required by the CTD, the garage has 67 spots left, spots that could easily be given to students. Furthermore, since the Complex is so often vacant, even on performance nights at the CTD, why exactly did the College build such a big lot in the first place? It certainly wasn’t to enhance our views. As long as they are there and otherwise unoccupied, the spots should go to students.
By opening these spaces to students, the College would hardly be inviting urban gridlock. Because Greylock is centrally located – with walking often a more expedient mode of transportation to class – students would have little incentive to drive unless they truly had to. Rather they would use their conveniently located cars to drive where they’ve always driven: sports practice, Shop n’ Stop, restaurants at the outskirts of town and other similarly distant destinations. Of course, we could be wrong. Williams could receive an unwelcome influx of vehicles. But would it hurt so much to try?
With temperatures often below freezing, the imperative for convenient parking is that much greater. The College’s policy of inconveniencing students out of their driving habits seems not only crude, but largely ineffectual. Students will still have cars on campus and will still use them to escape the restrictive confines of Williams. It’s time that the College concede this point and try to work with both the town’s and student interests in mind.