Womeldorph: The solution to Fort Collins’ horrendous parking issue

Zane Womeldorph

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

This time of year is wondrous to behold. Weather warms, sun shines, rain rains and grass grows. And yet, as nature comes to life all around us, the beginning of May is naught but a harbinger of the biannual death of the collegiate soul.

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Semester’s end, regardless of season, brings the standard stressors of finals and projects and the diffuse sense of general, grade-based panic. But spring is special, as it compounds the stress of school with the stress of life’s least pleasurable activity.

The annual scramble to find housing for next year is a uniquely collegiate experience. In Fort Collins, the rental market is depressingly cutthroat. A successful housing search requires light speed paperwork skills, enough cash on hand to pay the security deposit and possibly the first month’s rent and the willingness to determine that a space is good enough within five minutes of seeing it.

You then have to cobble together everyone’s applications and checks for various non-refundable deposits and fees and rush to the leasing office in the hopes that none of the six other groups you viewed the house with beat you to the punch. And then you get to wait 48 nerve-wracking hours while they process your application, hoping that no one in your group’s credit score is two points under the requirement.

And if you get declined for one of innumerable petty reasons – perhaps because your group’s total monthly income came in at $100 less than the required three times the monthly rent because they don’t count your roommate’s tips as “verifiable income” – well, better luck next time and thanks for the $50.

On top of the aforementioned pleasurable application experience, substantial yearly rent hikes, particularly in the neighborhoods close to campus, have resulted in exorbitant prices for houses that haven’t been renovated since the Reagan administration. For me, this has meant a slow exodus to the nether-reaches of the city in a continual search for affordability.

Next fall I will be living in Fort Collins’ Oort Cloud, next to a literal chicken farm. When we looked at the place the stench of livestock was notably absent, but I have a sinking suspicion that this is not the norm. Anyways, the distance of my newest residence brings up another issue.

Despite the best efforts of both the city and the school to discourage this heinous activity, some of us must drive to school. This requires parking, which in turn requires either a parking pass or the willingness to walk.

As we all know, in order to afford a parking pass, one must relinquish a limb and the rights to one’s firstborn son. That, or have deep pockets. To avoid amputation and further desiccation of my paltry bank account, I have been parking in the neighborhoods around campus and walking to class from there. Until spring break, that is, when the city laid a sneak attack and changed these areas to two-hour parking zones and started enthusiastically issuing tickets.

So I now stand at a quandary. In order to afford rent, I must live far from campus. But living far from campus makes transportation methods besides driving too time consuming to be feasible, which in turn requires a parking pass that I also cannot afford. A quandary indeed.

Fortunately, I have come up with a singular solution to this dual faceted problem, one which I am sure both the school and the city will love.

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I am now planning on cancelling my lease and selling all my possessions, including my current vehicle. With the proceeds I will purchase one of those hippie Volkswagen vans – the newer kind, not the 70’s version – along with a parking pass, and live full-time in the various A-lots around campus. My girlfriend is going to love it.

I shall become a vagrant, academic gypsy. My eternal pursuit of knowledge shall no longer be hindered by continually rising rent. I can shower in the rec center or that bathroom in the basement of Behavioral Sciences. Meals can be prepared on my camping stove or the microwave in the LSC. And when it gets cold I’ll just move my house into one of the parking garages and bust out my zero-rated sleeping bag.

And there will be plenty of room for others, too. Those parking garages can hold a lot of cars. Just imagine, hundreds of learned hobos on a years-long tailgate, loading up on knowledge.

Boom. Problem solved.

Zane Womeldorph can be reached at letters@collegian.com and on Twitter at @zwomeldo