The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 22, 1999, Page 5, Image 5

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    If you build it, they will walk
Prospective garages will not alleviate on-campus parking problems
senior English and news
editorial major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one
before: Finding a placet© park on cam
pus is a joke and the university has no
idea how to resolve the problem.
During my five-year tenure at this
university, I’ve watched parking space
steadily decrease while permit prices
steadily increase - seemingly supply
and demand at its finest.
However, rather than supplying
parking to accommodate the demands
of increased enrollment, campus aes
thetics have been a higher priority and
potential lots have been supplanted by
green space and huge, plate-metal eye
My apologies to those who marvel
daily at the complicated splendor that
is “Tom Notebook,” but even a visi
tors’ center would have been more aes
thetically pleasing - a fact the universi
ty is apparently conceding in hiding the
sculpture elsewhere on campus.
Heedless of past mistakes, howev
er, Parking and Transit Services recent
ly unveiled its Parking Master Plan in
an effort to offset die problems that
will be caused by several construction
projects in the coming years.
The plan calls for the construction
of $50 million worth of permit parking
garages to be built during the next five
years. These three garages would
replace the 4,000 parking spaces -
nearly 40 percent of on-campus park
, ing - anticipated to be displaced by
If implemented by the Board of
Regents in June, the plan would be
funded by more than tripling student
permit prices and more than quadru
pling the price of faculty permits,
according to the Daily Nebraskan and
the Lincoln Journal Star.
These figures are admittedly vague
in both sources, but the March 12 DN
article reported that annual student per
mits, which currently cost $81-, would
increase to nearly $300 in 2004, and
faculty permits, which cost $99 now,
would skyrocket to almost $400.
Even UNUs public relations publi
cation, The Scarlet, reports that “fees
for a typical ‘area 10’ permit holder
(would) escalate in $5 or $6 monthly
increments annually through (fiscal
year) 2004.”
A $5 monthly increase every
month for five years would result in a
$300 increase by 2004; this figure
most closely corresponds with the
numbers reported by local papers and
would seem to be the most popular
interpretation of vague projections.
Parking services anticipates
increased availability of parking
because of these astronomical prices,
but the garages will not provide more
space than is currently available.
The logic behind this solution is
baffling - apparently parking services
can’t see the parking lot for the cars.
Let’s review:
There is currently a shortage of
parking on campus; this is readily evi
dent every morning in campus lots
where students hover like vultures in
their vehicles, waiting to swoop on the
next vacated parking space.
The prospective garages will not be
adding space; they will simply replace
the lots displaced by the building of a
visitors’ center, a new residence hall
and additions to the Walter Scott
Engineering Center - not to mention
the lots on top of which the garages,
themselves, will be constructed.
So after all is said and done in
2004, the university will boast three
shiny, new parking garages, students
and faculty members will suffer an
increase of 300 to 400 percent to per
mit prices, and UNL will still have a
parking shortage to resolve.
Even in the eventuality that sky
rocketing prices make students and
faculty members reluctant to buy per
mits - not very likely considering the
current demand for permits - that that
$50 million worth of parking garages
could sit empty much of the time.
It should also be considered that
campus drivers who will be paying for
the garages as fees steadily increase
during the next few years will not even
be here to benefit from the completed
project; students will have graduated
and, unless the university and Legis
lature cooperate and take notice, facul
ty members will have moved on to
institutions that pay them their worth -
but that’s another column.
There are several more efficient
solutions to the campus parking short
age, the simplest of which parking ser
vices has, coincidentally, already sug
gested - their master plan simply takes
a more circuitous, and costly, means to
this end.
If permit prices increase, fewer stu
dents and faculty members will buy
them - this is how supply and demand
is supposed to function.
Why must the university build $50
million worth of parking garages when
the actual solution will be eventually
higher permit prices upon completion
of the project?
If campus drivers stop parking on
campus, they will have to seek alter
nate means of transportation. UNL
currently encourages mass-transit use
by offering free city bus passes, but the
university should take a more active
role in effecting a solution.
The prospective Parking Master
Plan calls for an Express Transit
System - that’s bureaucrat for “shuttle
bus” - that would bring students from
garages on the outskirts of campus to
the center of campus.
Why can’t die current shuttle bus
system, which runs primarily between
City and East campuses, simply be
expanded? ~
Many students and faculty mem
bers are reluctant to buy remote park
ing permits because of the distance of
these lots from campus. Consequently,
many lots between die Campus
Recreation Center and the Bob
Devaney Sports Center sit empty much
of the time. Adding resources to the
current shuttle bus system would
increase the viability of these lots, par
ticularly during winter months.
Of course, raising permit prices,
selling fewer permits and expanding
shuttle bus routes and hours could
result in a drop in Parking Services’
But surely the university cannot
presume to compromise the conve
nience of its students and faculty mem
bers simply to continue turning a prof
Welcome to Wussville
Kids of today pampered by over-safe playing ^
TODD MUNSON is a senior
broadcasting major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
I tell you what, the world today has
certainly turned out to be a fine kettle
of fish, indeed.
The Dictionary of Cliches says a
fine kettle of fish is a Scottish phrase
dating back to 1785 that means some
thing’s gone terribly awry.
In my quest to become as crazy as
a coot, I’ve found the Dictionary of
Cliches to be a most useful guide.
You see, I realized a while ago that
at 23, I’m past halfway to the halfway
mark to seeing the midpoint of my 20s.
From there it’s nothing but a slip
pery slope to 30. And then, there’s
nothing left but to jump off the pier
and sink to the depths of old age.
Well, I’ve never been one to have
the gumption to pull myself up by the
bootstraps to put up a fight, so without
further ado, I surrender to thee, old
Hot damn!
Hold on, if I’m going to do this old
coot shtick up right, I’ll new some
Pardon me while I mosey down to
the Piggly Wiggly.
Half an hour later...
Can you believe the clerk asked me
for two different forms of ID? Back in
kindergarten, where we used to eat
lead paint chips on a regular basis, I
remember going to the store with my
neighbor Kenny to buy cigarettes, and
all it took was “they’re for his .
That’s much better. Oh Mr. Red
Man, you make me as bright as a but
Speakin’ of buttons, what’s the deal
with these gol dam video games these
Back in my day, a kid was bom to
the purple if’n he had an Atari. One
button, a joystick and some fancy
shapes, that’s what a video game is all
To play video games in my day,
you had to be tough. The was no such
thing as ergonomics back in my day.
That joystick was about as comfortable
as a bed of nails. I think back to the day
when kids’ hands would fall off after
playing too many games of Pac-Man.
Now those stupid things have more
buttons than I have teeth. Nobody
needs the X, Y or Z buttons to play
video games. You need just one little
orange one, like my Atari - the fire
Back in my day, if you didn’t get
permanent damage from your Atari,
chances were the Grim Reaper was
just a nippin’ at your heals once you
stepped outside.
I was a park the other day and, hot
damn, the playground equipment was
about as lame as a one-legged rooster.
Where in God’s green earth did all the
steel go?
Back in my day, the jungle gym a
testament to danger and only the
strong survived. Every thing was made
out of steel, nice and sharp hunks of
i In my day, if a boy were to become
a man, he knew all toch*ell that he had
to ride down the gantlet of death.
Mere mortals called it the tornado
A twisting snake of jagged metal if
there ever was one. If a kid picked a
' bad day the ride this beast, he’d find
himself running to mommy all sliced
up like an Easter ham. What really
added to the fun was that at any tem
perature above freezing, the tornado
slide would reflect heat like a mirror,
causing that boy to run to mommy like
a smoked Easter ham.
That jungle gym I saw the other
day made me sick. There wasn’t an
ounce of metal, just one big hunk of
hypoallergenic safe so your tush does
n’t bum plastic.
It had a tornado slide too, but this
one was all of four feet off the ground.
Not even a chance for a kid to break
his neck.
What really sickens me is that
there’s not even one bolt on the dam
thing that will eventually rust and slice
through the eye of an 8-year-old.
As I stood there, madder than a wet
hen, something inside gave me a feel
ing warmer than the best moonshine
East Campus has to offer.
I had survived something these
pampered kids of today will never get
to experience, the rocket slide.
Back around the time that damn
George Bush stepped into office, these
monoliths were stripped from the land
For those of you too young to
remember, the rocket slide was 40 feet
of proof that Darwinism exists. If you
can, imagine a the skeleton of a Saturn
Five rocket with a slide about 20 feet
up, that kids could play in, around and
on, if you were skinny enough.
Somewhere just beyond the
smell of my chaw, I can still smell
the stale air of danger. Kids
today don’t know what danger’s
about. Drive-by shootings
don’t even come close to the
thrill of walking around the
outside of the rocket slide
with nothing but the
hard, cold cement
below to catch your
fall. Sissy wood
chips hadn’t even
been invented yet.
But damn that
President Bush
and his inbred
son. ■
In the realm
of sports and recre
ation, kids may be playing
on the wussiest toys in cre
ation, but thanks to the fas
cists in the Consumer Product
Safety Commission, kids of
today will never get the
chance to play the game I
played every time I went
to Grandma’s.
And this, my
friends, is the ace in
the hole that proves
that kids of today
will be the
biggest sissies
this great nation
has ever known.
The game,
quite simply, was
die backyard edi
tion of the
Vietnam War.
Those of us bom
in the days of free love know it as
Lawn Darts.
Banned in 1988 by the CPSC,
Lawn Darts epitomized everything that
was right about growing up during a
time when people did things because
they knew no better.
Turns out some uptight ninny in
Washington got a wild hair up his butt
when he realized about 675 people,
mostly men between the ages of 1 and
18, went to the hospital after playing a
game that
i throwing
large, heavy and sharp darts back and
forth at each other was a bad thing.
Especially when a scant 4 percent met
their maker with punctured skulls.
I say poop on the CPSC’s plea for
us free Americans to destroy all lawn
Somewhere out there on that blast
ed Internet is someone selling a set and
I will buy them.
Soon, the snow will melt, then I
will play lawn darts in the greenspace,
living life the way it was meant to be
before political correctness.
Anyone care to join me?