Colby students struggle to find parking in winter weather, raising concerns over the lack of availability of spaces

In the beginning, this glorious nation’s tenets included something along the lines of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and the rest of our founding fathers pushed the values that they believed would shape a glorious democratic republic – one in which all are created equal. In turn, David Greene, Colby College’s benevolent dictator and long-time advocate of the Security Department, starkly rejects these virtues in favor of a structured class system. This system, in which those lucky enough to own blue parking stickers and call themselves fanciful names like “faculty” or “staff,” inherently creates a blunt bifurcation in Colby’s populace – a dividing line between those who may, and those who may not.

For those who may, life is but a breeze. With a blue parking sticker, an individual can pull their car into one of the many available parking spaces (closest to the lot’s points of egress), take a sip of their morning joe or even a breath of their rarified air and be well on their day. But for those who may not, conversationally known as owners of a red parking sticker, the task of parking their respective vehicles is not so straightforward.

At their best, the three Colby student parking lots are crazed matrices of haphazardly parked cars, trucks, and vans with little to no regard for frivolous constructs such as boundary lines. At their worst, all it takes is one misplaced vehicle to set in motion the all-too-common domino effect of off-kilter parking jobs extending all the way down a row of spaces. One suggestion for replacing the income generated by all these parking tickets? Forget repainting the lines from now on – the effect will be the same.

To be clear, it’s no simple task trying to cajole one’s four-wheeled vehicle to within the white lines of a parking space. Invariably, even once a spot is discovered, up next is the burden of parking within now-snowed-over bounding lines.  A veritable dilemma arises when one ponders which is the worst of the two processes – the oftentimes arduous journey of finding an available space, and the actual task of parking the vehicle. It’s truly the nightmare within the nightmare; a subtle evocation of Inception-esque levels of harsh reality.

Naturally, in the same way that one isn’t actually stuck in traffic so much as they are part of the traffic, and insofar as recognizing that self-governance is still virtuous, to put it frankly, we are all part of the problem. Moreover, as a member of the student body and frequent parker himself, the author does indeed nobly acknowledge partial responsibility (although it’s more a passivity, in actuality) for the parking problem. Other members of the student body are more outward with their criticism, however. In fact, local talking head and disgruntled car owner Charlie Allen `21 pontificated on the very subject.

“May the fury in our hearts melt the ice and snow which obscure the boundaries of our spaces and which confine our vehicles to their frosty prisons,” Allen writes to start his ongoing open letter he calls a “Parking Manifesto.”

Even the most inexperienced critic – yours truly – can see there exists a misallocation of resources in our lots. Sure, it makes sense for the faculty and staff (and anyone else with Colby College written on their paychecks) to enjoy preferential parking privileges – during the day, that is. Position prudence as the priority, and the people privy to perfect parking shall populate plots with precision.  Put another way, the administration should consider allowing student parking in staff sections, say, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

After reaching out to Colby’s Security Department (albeit only hours before this article was sent in to be proofread) for a soundbite regarding the parking issue, the administration declined to comment. Perhaps someone more spirited than the author might go so far as to call this response – or lack thereof – “dodgy,” “dismissive,” or even, if they’re feeling particularly impassioned, “lackadaisical.” The extent to which the Colby administration’s view is obfuscated is made clear in their decision to build a new academic building on what is currently the Mary Low parking lot. Of course, the sentence doesn’t really make sense. Quite plainly, to rip away one-third of the available parking on campus when there is already an overpopulation of vehicles as it is, without published plans for an immediate spillover lot, is an oversight on par only with the 70-year exclusion of seat belts in automobile design itself.

Lamentably, it’s implausible we’ll see any changes for the better before the end of this academic year. Here’s hoping security will run out of tickets before then.

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