To Park or Not to Park

By: Whitney de Valroger Managing Editor

Parking at Montgomery College is becoming ridiculous. The lack of parking spaces and increase of student population is making it more difficult to find a parking spot in an appropriate time. Let me describe my Tuesday morning.

I have a class in the South Campus Instruction Building that starts promptly at 11 a.m. I start my morning around 9:30 a.m. and give myself a half an hour to get to campus.

Then the fun begins.

I’ve been timing how long it takes me to find a spot these past couple weeks. I have found my average time in the morning is 18 minutes. 18 minutes! Just to find a spot! The longest it took was 23 minutes. That is miserable.

I do not mind parking far away. I enjoy a nice walk on the concrete. What is a nuisance is finding a spot. I am, more often than not, forced to park as far away as I can from my class. And while I enjoy the walk, I also enjoy not stressing over finding a spot and being late to class; it cuts into my beauty rest (which I desperately need).

But it does not have to be this way. A possible solution to this issue would be a parking garage. A multilevel garage could house more cars vertically in the same space than regular ground parking spots take up. The biggest hurdle to pass would be the cost.

A new parking garage is not cheap and can be considered an eyesore. A new garage can cost near $5 million, and must be completely funded by the college. That means no federal or state assistance. The cost would most likely be subsidized by the student body through tuition. But is that so bad?

Each student pays a transportation fee. This fee “is assessed to establish an enterprise fund designated for transportation operations” (Montgomerycollege. edu). The fee is four dollars for every billed hour. That’s $12 for a three credit class. That is a lot of money spread out over 20,000 students on all three campuses, but it also pays for luxuries such as parking permits and bus fees. But why not begin to save for a parking garage, Rockville? It has worked for Silver Spring, why not here?

The parking situation is looking up. Construction on a new lot where the old tennis courts were is well underway, but is this just a Band-Aid to a bigger problem? Would a garage help parking for years to come, or would it be a gross addition to add on the campus?

Sound off on Facebook. com/MontgomeryAdvocate and give your opinion!