LETTER: Parking solutions already in place

As the provider of transportation services to Central Michigan University, the off-campus apartment complexes, as well as the greater Mount Pleasant area and the Isabella County Transportation Commission, I-Ride shuttle services provide more than a quarter of a million rides annually to and from the CMU campus. In addition, these same services connect campus to most of Mount Pleasant.

Central Michigan Life’s recent editorial touting the idea that parking permits issued should never exceed the number of available parking spaces on campus is simply wasteful for the reasons given by CMU’s parking services spokesperson. Busing services are the primary methodology used by universities across the country to make the best use of available parking resources.

Additionally, the question of where would a parking structure be built on campus arises. That depends on who you ask and will get you a half dozen or more responses. Cost estimates for building “up,” as opposed to surface parking lots, are close to eight times more expensive, with many recent estimates as high as $30,000 per parking space. Then there is the need for staffing and policing of an enclosed, tight area like a parking structure to prevent theft, and for personal safety issues, add another $150/month/parking space.

If students are complaining now about parking passes, what will be the complaint when more expensive permits for covered parking are not available to all who want them, or when they do arrive to find the ramp is full?

The permanent solution to CMU’s parking problem is already in place! Movement around campus, and from the peripheral parking lots as well as along Main and Washington streets as far as downtown Mount Pleasant is currently available every half hour from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and can be used without charge from many of these locations.

Has there been no recognition, especially here in Michigan, of how we have come to the economy of our state through the singular approach to mobility, where we all feel the need to drive ourselves and the need for a parking space for every car on the road? What about the future for graduates of CMU? When they find employment, likely in any urban area, are they properly prepared with an attitude that they are going to drive their personal vehicle into the urban center and then complain that there is not a parking space for every person working in Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas or Phoenix?

Parking ramps may have a place in the long-term future of CMU, but to offer them as an inexpensive and simple answer to parking issues at CMU is just wrong. Current shuttle services could be expanded to meet even greater needs on, and off campus, but to suggest that bus transportation is not an immediate answer, and that somehow spending huge sums of money to build a parking structure is, places CM Life editorial staff in exactly the position they accuse the administration of being in, wasteful!

Dennis M. Adams

ICTC Director of Marketing and Public Relations