Editorial: Shuttle service not the key to fixing parking

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The primary complaint of students at Rowan is the parking situation. It has never been an ideal marriage – the burgeoning research institution struggling to expand while accommodating its traditionally commuter base – but it seems students have really begun to hit a boiling point this year.

After Labor Day, Glassboro streets abandoned two-hour status and became permit parking only. Surely this was a welcome change for residents of the town, now able to park outside of their homes throughout the day and without fear of being forced out by students. But it has resulted in a lot of frustrated students who couldn’t find parking to begin with, and were now being pushed away from one of the easiest work-arounds available.

On top of this, the Rowan Announcer has been publicizing that staff will soon be ticketing and policing the parking lots much more seriously – likely a response to complaints of people parked in the wrong place.

The school’s solution to the increased strain on parking was to open up all lots to both residents and commuters, but that doesn’t seem to have helped, as the university was trying to buy back parking passes several weeks ago in order to make space for people who really need them.

The second solution was to expand the shuttle service with an express van traveling back-and-forth from the student center to two new lots opened to students at the South Jersey Technology Park and on Ellis Street. The idea was that students could park here instead of hunting down spots all day.

A reporter from The Whit attempted to utilize the new shuttle last week and struggled to use the mobile application designed to alert students of when the shuttle is coming. She waited at stops where the shuttle never came, and ultimately decided that she’d never be able to rely on the shuttle to get to class on time.

That reporter also mentioned that the drivers of the shuttle expressed on more than one occasion that they hadn’t had any travelers throughout the day and that our reporter was the first.

The university is working on more parking. There should be a new garage and a new lot added somewhere by the end of the year. But anything on Rowan Boulevard or near the new engineering building faces the same problem of pushing students to the fringe of campus.

At the end of the day, we’ve all been down this road before. The Whit called for a better shuttle service two years ago and little to no improvements have materialized since. Even now, the attempts at change seem to be either unsuccessful or lack serious utility.

What the future of the shuttle will be is still unclear. Should it be eliminated or embraced as a free Uber on a Friday night when you’ve been drinking on the other side of campus? Either way, it is not the answer to Rowan’s parking problems, and something else needs to be done.

For questions/comments about this piece email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet us @TheWhitOnline.

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