October 8, 2023 (5:41 PM)

5 min read

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A typical day as an Atenean consists of struggles: scorching heat, classrooms that resemble refrigerators, and deciding what to eat for lunch. We face a seemingly endless list of problems.

Now that we are back to a fully face-to-face setup, the amount of students entering the campus has significantly increased from last year’s hybrid setup. While the most common method of going to school is through public transportation, there are also those students who are privileged enough to drive themselves to school in their cars. But with the ability to drive a car comes the dilemma of looking for a parking place, especially if you cannot secure a slot within AdDU’s parking spaces.

Recently, an anonymous submission in AdDU Freedom Wall has been the talk of the town when it discussed the University’s lack of parking spaces and how it causes a hassle for students who drive to school. As of writing, the post has garnered more than 2000 reactions and has been shared more than a thousand times. It has also been discussed a lot by people online, with some calling out the post for its elitist tones and demanding structure of words.

The anger of the so-called student driver seemed to be misdirected and lacked a deeper understanding of the main problem. Parking in and around the campus is indeed a problem, especially with the University’s limited parking slots and the surrounding commercial spaces that limit their parking spaces to customers. However, the mistake in the message of the said anonymous submission is that it failed to look at the issue in the bigger picture. Adding an additional parking space in the University is nothing but a band-aid solution to the parking problem, which is not even feasible in the first place, considering that there are no more available land areas around the campus. 

But even if it were possible to add a parking building, this would have financial and environmental implications. An additional building on campus will mean that the University will need to spend more money on its construction and maintenance, which will reflect on our semestral fees and, possibly, the parking fee. As a result, there’s a high chance of a more expensive parking slot fee, which would indeed cause more students to complain since there are already complaints about the current price for the parking spot. 

By adding a parking space, more students will be encouraged to use cars, which worsen the traffic conditions around campus, increase carbon emissions, and contradict the University’s Ecoteneo environmental advocacies stated in its mission. It would be hypocritical for the University, which strongly advocates for the common good of the environment, to allow its students and staff to continuously contribute to air pollution.

Additionally, many students choose to drive to school to avoid going through the struggles of public transportation. With the worsening traffic conditions in the city, commuting has become much more challenging and troublesome. The struggles in public transportation have led many people, including Ateneans, to opt to drive when possible since it removes the inconvenience of waiting for a long time and standing in long lines while waiting for a jeepney or taxi. 

Even if the University would want to cater to every student’s needs, the problem with AdDU’s lack of parking space is already beyond their control. The University has many more problems to solve that affect not just the tiny population of Atenean drivers but the entire Ateneo community. There are several issues that the University needs to focus on, such as gender inclusiveness (e.g., the inhumane policy for transgender students’ uniform use) and improvements in facilities that aid in the University’s promise to deliver top-notch education. 

The solution to the simple problem of not being able to find a place to park lies in the fact that there is a bigger underlying problem of transportation in the city that needs to be resolved. There are already too many vehicles on the roads, especially during rush hours. The estimated time for commute is already one hour at minimum. Ever since the loosening of pandemic restrictions and the return of face-to-face classes, traffic conditions have become worse in the city, which makes commuting harder for those who use public transportation daily. Although President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. recognizes the country’s transport problem, his solutions focus on infrastructure projects. This is yet again another band-aid solution. New railways and stations will be deemed useless if the transportation system is still confusing and unorganized, and traffic will be much worse if new public transport vehicles are added without first settling the public transportation system.

The problem with the lack of parking spaces is valid. In a way, it has negatively impacted student drivers as it causes them to be late in their classes and to worry about the security of their cars. However, for problems like this and any other problem in the University and the city, we should not focus on quick solutions that may cause further problems in the future. Car-centric actions, such as constructing buildings and roads, seem to immediately ease the issues of vehicle drivers but ignore commuters and pedestrians, which contributes to more significant problems in the future. It is the local city government that should be urged to stray away from car-centric actions and, instead, look out for the welfare of every citizen.


About Alona Grace Ruyeras - agbruyeras

Alona prefers putting all her thoughts into written words as she finds it more effective. As a psychology major, she finds a lot of theories in psychology fascinating, but what strucks her the most is Alfred Adler's concept of Gemeinschaftsgefühl, or social interest. Adler believes that every individual has the urge to contribute to society to achieve personal and societal goal. Alona also believes that every person can contribute to society, even in the simplest ways that they do not realize.




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