Students should consider carpooling as a solution to parking issues

January 31, 2017

Anne Stewart

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     Parking on campus has never looked pleasant to me, so I always avoided it. I’ve never bought a parking permit.

     I park in Lot 576 on Nevada Avenue and take the shuttle to main campus, but I don’t think this alternative is a perfect one.

     Even in free parking, if you don’t plan accordingly you will not get a spot.

     Parking has always been a problem at UCCS.

     The parking lots will never have enough spaces as long as the student population continues to grow.

     But if more students decided to carpool, the environment, parking lots and our wallets would benefit greatly.

     A survey sent out to students in spring 2014 about transportation received 2,359 responses, which included staff, students, faculty and administration at UCCS.

     One question asked respondents to indicate how often they drove to school alone in a week, round-trips. Of 2,054 people that responded to this question, 593 said that they drove to school five times per week in a single occupancy vehicle while 401 people said they drove to school alone four times per week.

     In this age of information, we’re learning more about the ways we impact the environment. It’s important with the amount of resources that we have available to make a lifestyle change.

     The crossroads that we find ourselves at is whether or not we actually do it.

     The benefits of carpooling include cutting the cost of gas for all parties and splitting the cost of a campus parking permit, said Jim Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation services.

     According to The World Health Organization, each liter of fuel burnt in a car engine produces more than 2.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.

     For every .26 gallons of gasoline used, 5.5 pounds of CO2 are produced.

     Carpooling seems like an efficient solution to a growing problem.

     Another question in the survey asked the respondents what mode of transportation they use during the school year.

     This included the options such as single occupancy vehicle, carpooling, motorcycle, city bus, bicycling, walking and long-boarding. The 2,115 people who responded to this question said they use single occupancy vehicles around 83 percent of the time and carpooling just over six percent of the time.

     In a perfect world, carpooling could work; everyone would live in the same neighborhood and have schedules that coincided with one another.

     But it isn’t that simple.

     One prominent reason why people don’t carpool is because their work schedules are varied and unpredictable, making carpooling difficult to schedule rides with other, according to The UC Davis Flexible Carpooling Exploratory Study.

     UCCS has considered options that might incentivize or create motivation for people to carpool for their commutes to school, according to Spice.

     Priority parking for carpoolers could be an incentive for students, but the problem is how this could be enforced.

     Even so, the department of Sustainable Transportation does offer tips, advice and resources for those who wish to change the way they get to and from UCCS.

     The website encourages people to adopt alternative methods of transportation, carpooling or otherwise, in order to live more sustainably, improve mental health and to live healthier and more active lives.

     Carpooling isn’t easy, but it is an alternative option and it wouldn’t hurt to try. I drive to school by myself, but it would be great for me to use the available resources, like the carpool match services offered in the Colorado Springs area.

     I no longer have an excuse to drive alone, understanding what I’ve found out about the affect my personal vehicle could have on the environment.

     With around 12,000 students at UCCS, space efficiency matters.

     We are aware of ways to save energy by turning off the lights in vacant classrooms or to cut waste by using refillable water bottles. Maybe it’s time to start looking for the next sustainable lifestyle change.

     I used to think that the parking crisis was a problem that UCCS had to fix for us. But that responsibility doesn’t just belong to one side. We all have the responsibility to find the solution to a common problem.