The city of Oxford held initial interviews wth consulting firms for a comprehensive transportation review, that will evaluate how, among other things, public transportation and parking can be improved in the city. This move comes at a time when Miami University has been working to improve campus parking, including new parking garages under the Engineering Building and near Goggin Ice Arena. In light of transportation issues in Oxford and on campus, Oxford and Miami University should work together in order to improve transportation, while preserving the pedestrian character of our community.
Miami University recognized a few years ago that on-campus parking was a problem, and has since taken steps to alleviate the issue. While it is important to ensure that there are adequate parking spots available for students, Miami must be wary about the impact more spots will have on the character of campus. Currently, an imbalance exists with deserted parking garages going unused and students struggling to find parking spaces near central places such as King Library and Shriver Center. However, there is the danger that readily accessible parking will encourage lazy students to drive to class when they otherwise would have walked, and the increased traffic associated with this phenomenon will affect the picturesque landscape of Miami.
One possible solution is to improve Oxford’s public transportation system, as the Miami Metro is currently underutilized by students. With buses frequently running off schedule and drivers taking intermittent breaks, students often drive to class simply to ensure that they get there on time. Allowing for delays caused by snow, the buses should be able to remain on schedule in a town as small as Oxford. The efficiency and punctuality of the shuttles to some off-campus apartments demonstrates that this can be done. With the Miami Metro service being highly unreliable, students should have the option to refuse payment on their bursar bill for the transporation service.
Students should keep in mind that they do not always have to drive in a town as small as Oxford, and that walking to class offers a quiet respite from day to day stresses. There are times when driving is necessary, and Miami could perhaps implement a targeted parking policy in order to dissuade students from driving to class, while improving after hours parking access. It will require a joint effort between Miami and Oxford to address some of these transportation problems. students currently face.