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WSU ignores faculty and Pullman residents in parking plan

GARREN SHANNON | Guest columnist

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Whenever I read or hear about WSU parking, two recurring thoughts come to mind: one, students will gladly park miles away and either walk or ride buses to get to the heart of campus, and two, staff and faculty needs are often left unmentioned.

I have seen the impact of WSU’s active drive to limit parking.

The fact is, students may park miles away but many other students, staff and faculty do not.

They simply move to the adjacent city parks and streets near campus, causing over-crowding, narrowing streets and impacting health and safety access.

The effect on Pullman seems a non-issue to WSU Parking and Transportation Services or the university as a whole.

And why care, it’s not your problem, right?

But the good people of Pullman are the ones who bear the brunt of such narrow views.

Students and visitors are not the only people who need to park at WSU.

As a Pullman resident for more than 20 years, I have been amazed that staff and faculty have to pay to park and will soon be expected to walk miles to get to their office.

One would think WSU would consider staff and faculty to be more valuable than that.

Yet, by its own admission, WSU treats them as a revenue stream to be harvested and rarely mentions their needs when discussing the future of parking.

Over the past 20 years, it seems that every opportunity to provide localized parking has been missed.

Underground parking should have been included in recent construction projects and should be a primary focus for all new construction moving forward.

I have heard claims that there are no funds for adding parking to new structures. If this is true, then it is by choice.

WSU chooses to exclude parking in building designs and that is a lack of vision that will not serve.

This type of planning is similar to the concept of closing Stadium Way.

What impact will that have on the city of Pullman?

Traffic currently using that arterial will now attempt to move through the bottleneck of downtown Main and Grand.

That plan will not end well.

I don’t work for WSU, so I don’t have a horse in this race.

But it seems to me that instead of a Stadium Way closure, WSU should look to building a sub-ground or partial-tunnel roadway to provide direct access to the WSU core.

This would provide a clean arterial through the heart of campus and allow for ample greenway above.

Such long visions would provide for safe travel below as well as a walkable campus above.

If combined with a sub-ground parking structure adjacent to Beasley Coliseum, the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, or both, similar to the University of Washington campus, this approach would allow for access and quality of life on campus.

When it comes to parking and access, WSU’s words and actions reflect a singular concern that tends to exclude the city which surrounds its campus.

We all live in the greater Pullman community.

Let’s make plans which reflect that care for each other.

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WSU ignores faculty and Pullman residents in parking plan