UL Students take a look at Campus Parking. Part two in a three part series.

A Monorail from 1911Everybody has been there, you wake up and as the sleepy sensation fades you notice the time is 9:30; you’ve a class at 9:45. You scramble out the door and hope the security camera missed you going through that stop light you forgot about. You finally get to school confident that you can run to class in five minutes, if you can find a parking spot.

Parking is one of the issues that UL students find themselves struggling with on a daily basis. While the new parking tower may ease some of the stress, the extra space is but a small dent in the growing UL Lafayette population which exceeded sixteen thousand in 2007.

The simple act of finding a place to park is a small portion of a much larger issue. Parking in what the Transit Department calls prime zones or parking spaces on campus requires a parking permit. Further still, the cost recently increased one-hundred percent from 20 dollars to forty dollars. Additionally, you must pay by the hour when parking in the new parking tower. These costs may seem trivial but as Adam Ray, a sophomore at UL says, “We should not have to pay to use a facility that is paid for in tuition.”In the face of rising costs and economic crisis, budgeting is becoming an increasingly difficult task for students and many students have no alternative other than paying for parking privileges.

What can be done to create a long term solution to this growing problem? Additional parking is a common answer to this problem. However, the additional property required to do this is scarce within the UL District. Consider that as the university’s populace grows, a real solution must be able to adapt with the changes.

A mass transit system such is an excellent idea not only for the student body but the entire city of Lafayette. Having a transit system can reduce the number of cars on roads in Lafayette reliving traffic problems. Rather than paying per gallon of gasoline, people can pay small fee to quickly arrive at the intended destination.

UL Lafayette does have a transit system in place to transport students from Cajun Field to the university. However, the buses simply don’t have turnaround time to meet the demand of students on campus. Kenneth Cross, freshmen at UL, concurs “the buses do not meet the demand of the number of students who use them”.

a Newer Version of the MonorailDr. Joe Abraham of Lafayette suggests that a monorail would be a new way to solve this classic problem in an article on ULToday.com; “It makes sense for UL; we have a small campus serving a large population, and that requires innovative solutions. “ A monorail, for example, stops shortly at a station so people can disembark and continues on its way. It does not have to consider the amount of traffic, traffic signals or accidents.

A project such as this seems like a wonderful idea. The challenge arises when one tries to find the means to pay for the system. A possible fix would be to institute a small charge for using the system. Charge, you say? Isn’t the rising cost of parking at the university one of the problems? Yes, it is. However, a small charge for a one-way ticket is a price most people are willing to pay. Is it possible to make such an assertive claim? Well, when a person can conduct a daily commute for the price of a gallon of gas, the question seems to answer itself.

Not only would a transit system provide a reasonable stream of income. It would create new jobs for the area. “This monorail …would not only advance UL, it would enhance medicine, tourism, retail, the arts, and the professions in Acadiana. That, in turn, would expand our economy as it attracts more high-end industry to our community. ”UL Lafayette also has one of the best Math and Computer Science programs in the United States. This kind of addition would only generate good publicity for the city and the University. As Doctor Abraham has said, “it would also expose one of UL's key recruiting assets-- the beauty of our campus-- to an ever-increasing number of visitors.”

There are many unanswered questions that surround the introduction of a mass transit system. Finances and property are two issues that would need addressing. Lafayette was not designed with a system like this in mind. In the midst of the economic problems facing the nation today, this may be a start to revitalizing the market by creating new jobs and sources of income. A mass transit system can save everyone money in the long term and may help a few students get to class on time.

Part I of this series can be found here, and Part III can be found here.

This article was submitted by UL students Michael Viator, Nick Sangchompuphen, and Victoria Comeaux. 

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