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Do we really need to make more room for cars?

By Staff | Dec 11, 2009

Dear President Shipley:

I am a 2001 graduate of Shepherd College, a town resident since 2002 and a physical education teacher with a commitment to healthy lifestyles. I often ride my bike to work in Martinsburg; therefore I realize the automobile isn’t the only way to travel. The purpose of this letter is to suggest alternatives to building a parking garage.

Is it really true that the university and town urgently need a parking garage? At times it is difficult to find parking, but is a lack of parking keeping visitors out of town? Is it limiting or slowing the growth at the university?

I see no evidence that shoppers are staying away, or that students are as well. If I am wrong, please make public the data.

If more parking is needed for the university and the town why does it have to be centrally located in downtown? Why not have safe ways to walk or bike in from a satellite parking lot located nearby?

Here are some suggestions for your consideration:

– Revise PanTran routes

– Forbid cars for freshmen living on campus

– Add more bike racks

– Add more bike and pedestrian paths

– Encourage carpooling for commuter students

– Improve safety at crosswalks and intersections

It is well known that West Virginia is high in both obesity and diabetes. Shepherd University can be a shining example of how not to promote either. Why not lead the way and emphasize the advantage of regular exercise? The student body can begin to make healthy decisions by walking, biking, and share rides with a little help. By building a parking garage we are adding to the problem. We need to look at the simple, healthy solutions to our parking “problem”.

Shepherdstown’s attractions are not enhanced by high-tech, expensive projects. We are a historic town, and in historic times they had hitching posts. In modern times that equals bike racks!

Meredith Matczak