Before this year, anytime a peer of mine complained about parking I shook it off thinking it couldn’t possibly be that bad. This year, I brought my own car to campus and have already had to deal with my fair share of lack of available spots.
While I haven’t been completely out of luck and have fortunately found some form of a parking spot, I’ve been late to class once or twice in my efforts to find a place to park. On the other hand, I think the bigger problem is what’s to come after college.
I currently work in downtown Valpo near Blackbird cafe. Valpo’s downtown is much bigger than the downtown of where I’m from, with more options to park; but with that comes alloted time for parking. In different zones, there are different lengths of time one can park.
Valpo provides two and three hour parking zones as well as permit parking, garage parking and all day parking. Three all day parking lots are provided, one being semi close to my place of work. But, nonetheless, they are always full even if I tried to park and walk a couple of blocks.
So far, while working at my location for about three months, I’ve received two parking tickets from the City of Valpo. Sure, I was in the wrong for parking in three hour parking for obviously longer than three hours, but riddle me this: what am I supposed to do?
I’ll tell you.
I’m expected to get up and disrupt my work day every three hours to move my car. Not only move it one spot, but a whole other zone. Sometimes, I find myself driving around because even the zones around me are full. I was once gone for almost 30 minutes - unacceptable for someone merely working an unpaid internship.
When I disclosed my problem with members of Valpo City Council I did receive a few email responses such as 1. Make your employer buy you a $100 parking pass. 2. I’m sorry 3. Here’s a map 4. That’s just the way it is and it’s expected.
Conveniently, one of the all day parking lots is directly located next to City Hall, making the whole issue even more infuriating.
We’re not Chicago; we’re Valpo. What exactly is the point of all this ticketing and restricted parking? I’m from Highland and like I said, much smaller, but even we have several parking lots in our downtown lot, all of which are free.
Imagine having to move your car every three hours. Luckily, my shifts are only five hours long as of right now but some people work 10 or more hours. Granted, some employers may have just splurged and bought a pass but even then those areas are limited.
I for one have already paid over $200 for a school parking pass and I’m working an unpaid position, I really don’t have the means to buy a second pass.
While there’s no good solution to this for me right now, I will say at least I know this feeling of parking drama continues well beyond our collegiate years and will most likely follow all of us into adulthood, especially those who plan on working in a downtown atmosphere.
In all seriousness, email your city council. Make your voice heard. And don’t forget about the importance of voting locally.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.