Parkers should pay for expansion

Western students spend much of their time shrieking like banshees about the perpetually over-stocked parking lots on the Hill.

Claiming a spot is like being the fat kid in a game of musical chairs. You’re either left out or you’re trying to cram into some place you really don’t belong.

But now Western students have a chance to help thin the searching, circling crowd — for less than the cost of two parking tickets.

Western is considering a project to double the size of the parking structure on Big Red Way, which would create between 600 and 1,000 new spaces.

But the school can’t pay for construction by itself, and it’s lobbying for $35 student contributions.

That’s fine with us, as long as the $35 is tacked onto the price of parking permits and not onto tuition fees. There’s no reason for all students to have to pay for a service they might not use.

By confining the increase to permit costs, only those students who regularly park on campus and participate in the frustrating battle for spaces would help fund the project.

Students who live within walking distance or park off campus don’t contribute to the crowded lots and should not be required to finance the expansion.

The increase would bump permit costs to $100. That’s more than Western students are accustomed to paying, but it’s less than Kentucky’s other vehicle-laden campuses. Resident students at the University of Louisville fork over $107, while commuters and residents at the University of Kentucky part with as much as $156.

With Western’s growing enrollment, the parking problem is only going to get worse. We think any action Western takes to address the demand should be welcomed by the parking population.

The inconvenience of construction and the closing of Dogwood Lane is notable, but it’s a small price to pay.

So is $35 — less than the cost of two parking tickets.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.