Car Free Day or Car Free Campus?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photo credit: Danny Albert

A grey parking lot sits in the middle of the campus. For one day of the year it gets to shine and yesterday (September 22nd) was that day. I don't know if you had a chance to pass by and see the Car Free Day (CFD) festivities but it was something to look at.

There was a dunk tank featuring the boys and girls of the Protection Service, and two SFUO executives (Ted Horton and Tyler Steeves). There was a barbeque, information tables, bike repairs, free yoga sessions, and a farmer's market to top it all off. Unfortunately there wasn't very much traffic moving through the event, which was incidentally held in Parking lot K just beside the residences.

There was one other very special thing at the CFD that I was particularly happy about. For this occasion we actually took a parcel of the parking lot and laid down some sod, effectively creating our own new green space. "Destroying a parking lot to create a green space" is what we called it.

I even joked, "This space needs to be undeveloped and the regular inhabitants [cars] are going to have to find a new place to inhabit". All joking aside though, there was quite a bit of animosity from those who were looking for a parking space and were denied any by the festivities. I do feel for those people, but the simple really is... tough, you are going to have to get used to it.

A little known fact; parking is a losing game here on campus. The cost of building an above ground parking stall (for one single car) is $13,000. The price for an underground stall is $45,000. Even if the University charges $1,000 a year for parking... it doesn't take a genius to figure out that there is no business case for building underground parking spaces. And in case you haven't looked around lately, there isn't really any space left for above ground parking either.

So what's the solution? Well basically there are going to be fewer and fewer parking spaces on campus. Car Free Day is a supposed to be an event to show people what could be done with the campus if there were no parking lots. Recently though, CFD is becoming more and more of a dry-run for the inevitable day that we run out of parking space on campus or ban cars outright.


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