By Cailean Mclead
In the two years that I have been to Whatcom, I have never had a chance to take anything other than a bus to my classes, mainly because it was cheaper and I have the nerve to wake up at 5 in the morning every school day to get to the bus stop. But now that I have become more comfortable driving to and from here, I can safely say for an undeniable fact that the parking situation at Whatcom is utterly atrocious.
However, this should come as no surprise to any student who has come here by car for more than a month. At 1 p.m. every single space in the lot is filled; some students resort to parking in other lots farther from the college, some even resort to parking on the edges of side streets, and still few I have seen carpooling with other students, going so far as dropping them off at the side of the road.
All this while the general populace wander the pavement in their Jeeps and their blue Mazdas constantly, desperately scanning left and right for a spot so that they can get to class on time.
My point isn’t that this sort of behavior should stop, nor is it that I think the students who exhibit this behavior are idiots, far from it. These sorts of things are the result of a growing problem of a big community college. A problem which, unfortunately, was bound to happen eventually in its history as soon as Whatcom opened up to utility for the county’s populace.
The number of students to parking spaces, to me, is very abysmal. And it does not help that Whatcom has not taken very many steps to combat the issue. But this problem is not unique to just Whatcom; Western Washington University is also very infamous for its convoluted parking situation for a while now. As is, I imagine, almost every college in the United States, although that there is my guess.
I have a few possible solutions, but it is very hard to say whether or not they could work, seeing as how something such as the way people park also includes societal and financial stuff, but then again these are just mere suggestions.
One idea would be to simply make more parking spaces, but the trouble immediately comes when deciding where to put it. Of the two years I have been here I could not see much space to put one except maybe where the field is next to Cascade, and the field is often used by students.
Another idea I have is to have to make all the parking here require you to have a permit that you need to buy. It would help to increase the number of available parking we already have, but that would come as a downer for people who travel from out of county to get to the college, where the only to get from there to the college is by car, since buses can only travel so far out.
However, speaking of buses, Whatcom actually did work with the county’s bus service to arrange for the station here, which helps. But it is clear that this is not enough; my theory is that there are only handful of buses that come through the Cordata station, and for some people it is very expensive to transfer from bus to bus or to buy a bus pass just to get to school, and even more do not have the time to ride the buses to get to classes on time as well.
For me, I have no definite answer to the problem, but it just is very frustrating to have to drive in circles for 20 minutes to see if one car can leave a spot for me to fill in.