I’ve been covering Student Senate meetings for a few months and have gained an understanding of the various committees and the purposes they serve on campus, but I feel like something is missing – a transportation committee.
When it comes to campus transportation, the infamous UW-Eau Claire parking problems come to mind.
My first experience with on-campus parking was when I tried to purchase a resident parking permit the summer before my first semester.
I set a reminder for the permits to go on sale and eagerly logged into the parking portal, but the portal crashed twice before I could purchase a permit.
I spent that semester on a permit waiting list and leaned on generous friends when I needed to go somewhere off campus.
When I returned for the spring semester after winter break with my figurative permit in hand, I was introduced to on-campus parking — stretches of parking lots with seemingly no spaces available.
Students aren’t the only ones having trouble parking on campus. Faculty parking permits are oversold, so faculty and staff trying to park in the Hibbard parking lot must get to work early, or risk the parking lot filling up and having to park across the street. river in the Haas parking lot.
A transportation commission could improve parking not only for students, but also for faculty and staff.
It’s frustrating to wait for the bus that goes to upper campus while watching several buses head to Water Street with half the seats full. The upper campus bus is inevitably overcrowded with every seat occupied and students standing in the aisle.
A transport commission would not have full control over this situation because the buses are operated by Public transport in the city of Eau Clairebut they could work with the city to improve the operation of buses for students.
University Drive, the street with most of the dorms, is not well maintained and is full of potholes.
Every day when I go down to lower campus to take classes, I walk past the piece that has been missing from the steps for some indiscernible time. This missing step can constitute a serious health hazard and engage the responsibility of the university.
None of the experiences I have described are unique to me. It’s time to recognize the widespread transportation issues on campus and do something about them.
Creating a transportation commission wouldn’t magically solve all of these problems, but it would involve students in decision-making about campus transportation.
A transportation commission could consider repaving University Drive, fixing steps, reducing parking ticket prices, building parking ramps and more, when no current commission has that jurisdiction.
Chapter four, section four of senate regulations empowers the Student Senate to “create and maintain standing committees to fulfill its enumerated and implied responsibilities in accordance with the legally recognized roles of student government and student rights.”
Student Senate elections will take place April 18-20, and I hope you will vote for senators who are committed to raising student voices and solving issues that matter to students.
There is no doubt that students are struggling with transportation issues, the question is whether the Senate will do something about it.
Kasper can be reached at [email protected]