Chances are that you have heard of the Office of the Senior Vice President’s e-mail last week lecturing both commuters and residents on parking habits in and around our Main Campus. The e-mail remarks that faculty, staff and students have overrun the local neighborhood streets making it difficult for residents to carry on with their everyday lives.
According to the e-mail undersigned by Provost Ira Schwartz, Senior Vice President Clarence Armbrister, and Vice President Teresa Powell, “parking problems are becoming an increasing source of tension between Temple University and the community.”
In an effort to pacify complaints which included partially blocking residents’ driveways, Temple administrators have drafted this novel and seemingly simple solution, “park in designated areas on campus,” adding that the costs of parking in Temple facilities are comparable to those in other areas of the city.
The simplicity of the argument is so astounding a child could comprehend it, but, at roughly $240 a semester for commuters and $332 a semester for faculty, it’s not surprising the University so desires our unrelenting business.
While the e-mail argues prices are reasonable, Penn is the only school that charges their students more and even Drexel’s costs are less per semester. At LaSalle’s campus in nearby Olney, residents are charged only $120 with commuters paying only $80 per full academic year and a separate lot is also offered for free parking to both students and faculty. Similarly, Villanova charges its commuters only $75 a year to park on its campus.
In the 335-word e-mail, we were all reminded that many neighborhood residents “have invested their lives” in this area and that “we need to be considerate of how we treat them and their property.” This leads me to wonder why, if the University so greatly respects and reveres its closest neighbors, it continues to sponsor enormous amounts of capital on projects that means tons of noisy heavy machinery in the middle of neighborhoods and across the streets from local residents.
When it comes to student parking, those who already bear the biggest financial burdens are being asked to advance more money to park in Temple-sponsored lots because the mere presence of our cars on city streets seems to present an inconvenience to so many others. At the same time, however, the University continues to back two large-scale housing projects which have supplanted dozens of our neighbors, and continues to pursue plans to level a wooded lot and erect a new Tyler School of Art building only feet from thousands of local residents. But, I suppose in this case, what’s good for the goose isn’t so good for the gander.
In funding major construction projects, Temple has continuously neglected parking facilities as part of its plans. Only the Liacouras Center’s construction has yielded additional spaces for student parking. The construction of 1300 that added more than 1,000 beds did not allocate a single parking space for its residents. This forced students to leave their vehicles on neighboring streets.
If given the choice, most students would gladly park in Temple lots, but prices are made prohibitive. And when it comes to cost, the University seems as unyielding as a kamikaze pilot after a “Dear John” letter. So students, faculty and staff are left only with this edict: Thou shall not covet thy neighbors’ driveway.
Ryab M. McKeon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.