By JACK SEEGER/Montana State News

Montana State University’s chronic parking problems are worse winter – when more students drive rather than walk or cycle. But they have been further aggravated this winter by record enrollment the ongoing construction of a new parking garage. The construction company has taken up entire parking lot for storing equipment and materials.

According to the university, parking garages are currently being constructed and are due to be completed by 2017.

In the meantime, more students, faculty and employees are parking in residential areas that are far away from campus—often illegally and on private property—and squeezed on the shoulders of tiny side streets.

Possible solutions for  parking issue ranges from disallowing freshman students from obtaining parking passes, to simply raising the price of parking passes altogether.  However, both of these options negatively affect the student body.

Perhaps the best possible solution to the ongoing parking crisis is taking steps toward making public transportation more accessible to students.  While the Streamline bus program does service campus, it is limited by both capacity and range.  If the university were to participate in an effort to expand the Streamlines capabilities, it is possible that campus parking could become much more efficient.

All things considered, new parking garages will certainly help reduce gridlock in the short term.  However, the future is likely to hold more record enrollments, and campus can only host so many parking garages before other long term actions must be taken.

Edited by Adam Schreuder

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