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No relief in sight for UFV’s parking crisis



Attending class on time is an essential part of being a successful student. Being on time makes a good first impression on your professor, doesn’t interrupt other students’ learning, and allows a chance to get notes organized. Not to mention that arriving early allows students to bypass the after-class Tim Hortons rush.  

It seems, then, that someone is out to get the hard-working students at UFV.

Year after year, the start of a new semester sees students struggling to find a spot to park. It seems that the only way to guarantee a space is to arrive before dawn or after dusk, as at all other times the lots are packed with cars parking in any available space some that may or may not be actual parking spaces like a can of metallic sardines.

Even arriving 30 minutes before class means very little. With no students leaving the campus until their classes are over, an early arrival only guarantees a gas-wasting parade of desperate people waiting to jump on any open parking space.  

Our school is not blind to this problem, and has done a few things over the years to try to improve the parking situation. Not by creating more parking spaces, mind you, but by offering some alternatives to driving to school.

The shuttle bus is actually a reliable and fast alternative, leaving every 15 minutes from both the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campuses during peak hours.

UFV has tried to do their best with the Abbotsford bus line, which goes all the way from Clearbrook to the Abbotsford campus every 30 minutes. The rest of Abbotsford’s troubling transit system is a whole other can of worms, one which limits the practicality of taking the bus from most locations in Abbotsford.   

For those that simply must drive to school, UFV has provided dedicated parking locations for carpooling along A building, with a special carpool parking permit that can be transferred between three cars, in hopes of enticing students to ride share.  

There is also some city parking surrounding the campus, including the semi-new carpool lot along King Connector, and the street parking along Gillis Avenue. But, as I’ve learned the hard way, these public locations are not covered with the student parking pass, and tickets will be issued liberally to anyone who mistakenly parks there without paying.

All of these are temporary solutions, designed for an idealist world where class times line up with other out-of-town commuters, and there is time between work and school to take an extended bus trip home.

This is not realistic for the busy lifestyles of most students. Many times, there are just no practical alternatives to driving to class.

It is clear the university needs more than a bandage solution. Every year, parking becomes increasingly difficult, and extends far beyond the first few weeks of chaos.

I am far from being an expert on the intricacies of campus planning. I know there are space restrictions, as well as budget, community, and environmental considerations. I understand there is more to it then simply throwing some pavement down, and hoping for the best.

But as a student, crawling into class late once again, I have difficulty remembering these issues. The solution seems markedly simple: we need more places to park. And we need them soon.

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