How to Survive… Car Parking Chaos

The changes to the university’s parking permit procedure has sparked controversy.

No Permits? No Car Parking at University? But where are we to go? What shall we do? Yes, Durham University’s Queens Campus is unfortunately in the middle of the battle of 2012, the largest battle of all time. For a parking permit.

Welcome to the second edition of my column: Parking Permits. It was issued at the start of the academic year that parking permits were indeed to be applied for (as per) however this time with a cheeky little twist. This time we had to write a letter explaining why our ‘exceptional circumstance’ should certify us to gain a righteous place within the Queens Campus car park. With the eco-friendly name spreading from Durham Campus to Queens Campus, what are we to do?

First of all, if like me you dislike the thought of any kind of exercise (and I mean any kind) then you may find the overflow car park a delight; or not if you have a small ‘S reg’ fiesta. Unfortunately, hurtling down the car park path at 20mph with 5 minutes to go until the lecture starts, may not be the best option unless you want your tyres to combust in the space of 30 seconds. Making an ‘over flow’ car park designed for off-road cars is not particularly fun at half past eight on a morning, nevertheless getting on a bike and cycling to University to get there for half past eight on a morning, for me, is more of a daunting thought. However, with the sudden change of policy, there is (unfortunately for us) seemingly no other options.

Do not fear Super lecturer is here; over the past few weeks lecturers have expressed their disappointment in the changing of the policy and exchanged strongly worded e-mails with the big bosses (go lecturers!) to support the rights of the pupils.

The main issues argued by yourselves and the lovely lecturers were that there was trouble down the riverside (well… it is Stockton) with a school girl being followed, therefore, us ladies do not feel safe walking to our cars. Now, there are some people who may say ‘well why don’t you walk on the path near the main road?’ but this is not the point, it is in the name of the University to adhere to the pupils’ safety.

Also, another point to address (how formal am I?) is the issue of getting a bus. Now I personally have no issues with buses, apart from the fact I once sat on a woman’s lap and hand due to sudden braking on the driver’s behalf, but apart from this, they are fine. For some people, however, they may not live on a bus route so driving is the only option left. For people to then be denied parking in these circumstances is slightly unfair really. Nevertheless, there is the overflow car park (do not get me started again). But the issue here is that students pay a lot of money to insure and tax their cars every year, so why should they be made to pay for a bus on top of this?

After chatting to my friends (yes, I do actually have some) it is obvious that the main issue is not the fact that permits are not issued, it is more the fact that last year they were and the sudden change has come as a shock. It is like telling me that one year I could eat as much cake as I liked, but the next year this was not an option any more – bad times.

There are many issues here, but so little exceptional circumstances. However, no matter what our issues are with car parking, at least we can sleep knowing we are being supported by our superhero style lecturers that are pulling out their authoritarian roles and academic writing skills, to reach out for pupils needs and otherwise be ‘down with the kids’.

So take a stand, fight your ground and get out your best pad of paper. Write a ‘White Chicks’ style letter to the people in charge expressing your concerns about why you think the no parking permit rule may not be one of the best. After all, what have you got to lose? If all else fails, get some new suspension and battle it out with those potholes. Overflow is the way to go.

At the end of the day, we are the only people who can make a difference (I know, I’m getting all sentimental). Bearing all this in mind, here are my 3 top tips for this issue:

1. Take a stand! Go all women’s rights on these guys and fight for your parking place, send letters or e-mails and generally do what you feel needs to be done.

2. Don’t worry if you do not want to fight against this – take a leisurely bike ride or risk it all and park in the overflow car park, it won’t harm – surely? Plus, no parking hasn’t stopped people attending Durham Campus. Remember, it’s easy being green!

3. Do not get too irate. Parking permits were always going to strike up an argument but rise against it and do what you feel is right for YOU. Whether this is arguing for or against permits, or not arguing at all, we’re all friends here guys

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