If ever there was an activity that should make you want to turn around and never attempt to leave your house again, it must be finding off-street parking in New Brunswick. You have not known true frustration until you have spent more than 30 minutes circling around your house like a vulture looking for a parking spot.
You pass your address once, twice, three times, and still there is no spot in sight, not a single driveway open to you and your car. Finally, in the distance, you sight reprieve and slide your car in (only after three tries and several honks from the traffic being held up behind you). But don’t be so sure the ordeal is over. Now you have to walk home, in the dark, by yourself, shaking in your boots.
In those moments, having a car seems more like a curse than a blessing and our bus system suddenly becomes very appealing. That said, for those students who commute and need parking, taking the bus to school is not an option. Commuter students and permanent New Brunswick residents have to bear the brunt of these traffic problems.
Parking, or the lack thereof, is one of the many logistical problems that comes with the sudden migration of 50,000 students on campus and something that directly impacts the quality of life.
But lack of parking is really just a symptom of a bigger issue. Too many students have cars on campus, plain and simple. New Brunswick, unfortunately, was not designed to be overrun by thousands of vehicles. This overcrowding results in traffic jams, increased accidents and the dreaded parking dilemma.
The solution to this problem is certainly not straightforward or cheap and involves action from both Rutgers and the students on campus.
Rutgers must make an effort to increase the number of parking spots for students and access to those parking spots as well as create incentives for students to leave their cars at home to combat the problem from both ends.
The bus system should be cleaned up where possible to make all commutes, regardless of campus, as short as possible to reduce the need for student cars. Rutgers should also consider creating more parking facilities for off-campus students to reduce on-street parking.
Rutgers must work together with New Brunswick to come up with creative solutions. The use of “mixed-use parking” is one solution that adapts parking spaces for high peak times.
Students must also be conscious of how they are driving, where they are parking and whether or not they actually need parking. By reducing the amount of student cars in New Brunswick, we can significantly reduce traffic, accidents and parking issues for those who rely on driving to school.
Alice Militaru is the Opinions editor of The Daily Targum.
*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.
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