Letter to the Editor

Chandu Garapaty

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The opinion on “Poor parking and transportation” highlights crucial issues but only scratches the surface. Yes, the parking lots are terrible; they don’t have shade in the heat, and they are far from class. Walking in an environment built for cars sucks, doesn’t it? The article rightly blames a cycle of car dependency. Studies from the National Academies of Sciences and CSU Northridge show that car infrastructure creates more car use through induced demand. According to CSU Northridge, induced demand is the idea that when something costs less, people do it more, applied to transit. Increasing parking makes it easier to park, which encourages more people to drive to campus, creating a need for more parking. This means there will never be enough.

Commuters are right. Parking is an expensive scam. It costs our community space and money that could be used to break the cycle. Change does not require “rapid changes in government representation.” The author’s pessimistic attitude is misguided. For example, a lack of housing near campus often forces students to commute by car. According to UTD data, freshman are split around 50-50 between staying on-campus and commuting. However, that split is around 25-75 for all undergrads. As they get older and lose priority for on-campus housing, undergrads start commuting. But it doesn’t have to be that way — last week, Comets for Better Transit convinced the City of Richardson to approve a 4000-unit student housing development near campus. “Poor parking” calls DART unreliable but ignores the 883 line’s improvements mentioned in “Between a walk and a hard place” that Comets for Better Transit also advocated for.

“Poor parking” says it is “UTD’s duty to improve the parking experience.” Do not put off positive change to vague future policymakers while pressuring UTD to be substandard in the present. It is UTD’s duty to break the cycle. If Richardson and DART can listen to Comets, why can’t our own university? We should use our imaginations and advocacy to change bad parking experiences into good walking, biking or public transit experiences today.

Sincerely,

Chandu Garapaty

Healthcare Studies,

Junior


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