The recent staff editorial, “Kenyon Needs to Make Student Parking More Accessible,” seeks to remedy a nonexistent problem. The editors state that “Kenyon’s current parking infrastructure and policies do not support the number of students with cars.” Their solution: invade the campus’ beauty and disrupt the community rather than encourage students to traverse the barely one-mile span of campus on foot.
Do you really need a car to get from the New Apartments to the VI? No. To the Lowry Center? Also no.
The question posed by Jas Spearman ’18, “Why does any student have convenient parking, like those in the Acland Apartments, Morgan Apartments or the select few seniors who were able to win the parking lottery?” –– cited by the editors as a rebuttal to the claim that increasing student parking would diminish the College’s status as a walking campus –– is irrelevant to the argument. The fact that some students have convenient parking and others don’t has nothing to do with the notion that increasing student parking necessitates significant alteration of campus spaces and will lead to increased and unnecessary intra-campus car travel.
Yes, Kenyon is in the Midwest; the Midwest is cold. Having to put on a coat and walk 20 minutes is not “almost unbearable and even dangerous” — that is absurd. If students have a need for the essentials and errands that comprise the backbone of the editors’ argument, they can walk, just as the majority of Kenyon students do. The fact that most students at Kenyon do not have a car and get on perfectly fine proves how silly an argument this is. It seems as if the editors have adopted the language of accessibility to argue a position that only would benefit those privileged enough to have cars and would materially detract from everyone else’s experience.
If you are interested in how cars damage walkable communities, Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities is an excellent resource.
During a period of increasing enrollment, the last thing Kenyon needs to do is accommodate increased car ownership on campus. Cars are big. Parking lots are bigger. Kenyon’s campus is small.
Class of 2021