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1:56pm on Thursday, 21st January, 2010:

841 Paces


Normally, where I park my car at university is about 500 paces from my office. Today, I parked 841 paces away — and was lucky to get the spot that I did.

Over the past few years, the university has expanded. It got more students, plus more staff to teach them. It put the students in accommodation off campus, and staff live off campus anyway. They all want to drive to the university, because public transport takes three times as long to get there. However, the university has not built extra car parking spaces. As a result, if you don't get there early, you don't get to park.

I have a class on Thursday at 11am. Normally, I get in at about 8:30 so I can park, but because of the work we're having done on our house at the moment I had to be around for a while. I couldn't set off until 9:30. When I got to the university, I had a 15-minute drive around before finally deciding to park on a grass verge — one an email from the university's parking supremo had explicitly forbidden me (and the other 30 people who had done the same thing) from using. This was the same email that told us the overflow car park would be closed because it had got too muddy and they were sick of towing people out of it. OK, so put down some tarmac, then! We had the same problem yesterday, which was a visit day — prospective students were being brought here by their parents who found themselves unable to park! Come to Essex, just don't expect to be able to get out of your car.

The be fair, one of the car parks was expanded during the summer. A line of trees was cut down and replaced by a line of parking spaces. Any improvement made by this addition was, however, immediately removed when work on the expansion to the sports centre began: this entailed seconding a different row of parking spaces for use as a storage area for building materials.

The university is aware it has a parking problem. Users of its car parks are also aware that it has no solution...

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).