Students should be fed up with parking conditions at the University of Windsor – I know I am.
For my first two years of university, I parked at a free, secret and very sketchy location 10 minutes away from campus to save money. For the past two years, I have bought parking passes from the university, not for the convenience of location, but the supposed security benefits – i.e proper lighting and security cameras. However, I am beginning to question whether it is worth the $342 now that I know the university will not be of any assistance if, for example, a chunk of concrete was to fall out of the sky and onto the hood of my car. Please allow me to explain.
Falling materials are unfortunately a very real threat for students parking under the Ambassador Bridge in the University of Windsor’s Bridge A and B lots – this threat has been reported by WXYZ News in Detroit, CTV, and the Windsor Star. I know that, in the past, problems have been caused by ice being flung off the bridge by snowplows and onto students cars – these incidents have been confirmed by university parking services.
If concrete or ice falls onto my car from the quickly deteriorating underbelly of the Ambassador Bridge, I now know that the university will look the other way and I will promptly be directed to the Canadian Transit Company (CTC), owned by Detroit billionaire “Matty” Moroun who is well known for his generosity and cooperation. This has apparently already happened in the aforementioned “falling ice” cases, although I do not know the outcomes.
You see, the CTC owns the land on which the bridge and the parking lots are built and leases it to the university, who then charges me an arm and a leg to park my car in an imminent debris field. I understand the university cannot ask Moroun to keep his property up to standard, but if I am paying the university $342 for one 8′ by 20′ piece of asphalt, I think the university should be responsible for making sure my car is safe while it is there.
Of course, commuting UWindsor students are no strangers to parking hassles. If you want to park in a safe location with a guaranteed spot, you will have to pay the university’s ransom of $500 for a parking garage permit, which are, by the way, all sold out. For comparison, St. Clair College students are able to buy a parking pass in downtown Windsor for only $35/month, which works out to only $280 for a full academic year. I would really like to know what makes our asphalt better than theirs.
Now, the only option for students is a “hunting” permit – and, yes, the name means that students must hunt for a spot. Despite parking service’s optimistic assertion that students have always been able to find a spot to park, I know that I have spent too much time “hunting,” only to pay at the meter in a last-ditch attempt to actually attend class.
Some quick number crunching proves there are simply not enough parking spaces for students: there are 2,200 “hunting” permits available for only 1,700 spots. Statistically, 500 students could find themselves without a parking spot for which they have already paid.
This discrepancy is defended by parking services as being standard practice in universities across Ontario in order to maximize the use of space – the punchline to this sad joke being that only a week ago several parking lots were permanently closed to make room for “green space” ̶ or, as I like to call it, “grass.”
The university has no problem standing out from other universities when it comes to planning ambitious construction plans, unilaterally imposing terms and conditions of employment on its own faculty or halting funds to a student union and thereby eliminating any kind of undergraduate student representation.
Why can’t the university stand out for delivering exceptional services to its students, especially when those services are being paid for? Not only would this begin to foster pride in UWindsor students, it would help to mask the fact that the entire student body is being exploited as an ever-flowing and always obedient cash cow.