Landstreet: Study should focus on reducing parking need

Regarding the study of Western’s long-term parking needs, it does not appear from Jason Winders’ article (“Parking study to help drive campus plan,” Feb. 16) that environmental responsibility is a major criterion of this study. I am extremely disappointed if this is an omission. Has Western not heard about global warming yet, or is the university exempt from considering how its policies contribute to climate change?

I do not agree at all that a main focus of this study should be “how to accommodate everyone,” if that means parking for everyone.

An environmentally responsible plan will have as one of its main goals to reduce automobile traffic to and on campus as much as possible.

Proactively, this could be encouraged by expanding the undergraduate student agreement with the London Transit Commission (for school-year city bus passes at a reduced rate) to other groups on campus. The university could also lobby for a better system of bicycle paths in the northern part of the city; at present even the bike paths on Western Road adjoining campus are chaotic and confusing, and offer little protection to cyclists.

To discourage driving to campus when reasonable alternatives are available, the number of parking places should be severely limited, the price for them should be high (except perhaps for handicapped spaces),and most parking should be located on the fringes of campus.

The environmental consequences, and policy recommendations to respect the university’s responsibilities as a good corporate citizen, certainly need to be a central part of the university’s long-term parking planning.

John D. Landstreet
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Western and Armagh Observatory (Northern Ireland)