Dean Jeff Huang was gracious enough to reply to my request for follow up after his Forum statement. Here is what he had to say.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Environmental engineers Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath of the University of California found that instead of taking a train into the city from suburbia, there are times when “people would be better off traveling through town in a gas-guzzling, high emission SUV,” reports Red Orbit. Ouch!
But it gets even worse: Taking the commuter train across Boston results in higher greenhouse gas emissions than traveling the same distance in a jumbo jet, says New Scientist.
My bet is that the Dean of Students Office believes it won’t receive that many requests to park on campus. But what if, instead, they are inundated? There are 288 freshmen students who will be coming to campus next semester. If even 20% of the students want to have cars on campus, that’s nearly 60 additional spots that are needed. How will they decide who gets a spot and who doesn’t?
Just in any socialized system, you’ll end up having those who are connected get the spots while those who are not will be left out. There will be gaming and lying and forgery to get what people would have been willing to pay for honestly to get.
In The Forum comments, there some (anonymous, of course) attacks on rich students who drive nice cars to campus. Hey stupid, who do you think donates the money to build the parking lots? This kind of “screw the rich” stuff is really short sighted and downright against the motto of our college. We should aspire to joining the rich, not attacking their choice of transport. We want to make them feel comfortable and to enjoy their experience here so that they continue to donate.
I remember from Professor Weidenmier’s Econ. 50 that one of the most efficient ways to allocate resources is to raise the price of something and then subsidize those who cannot afford it. Why don’t we give that a try here?
In high school, we had a similar problem. I don’t remember exactly how parking worked because I didn’t have a car (or a license), but I remember that they charged different prices for prom based upon your financial aid, so as to guarantee that most of the class went. They also subsidized poor students (like me) with vouchers from prom based upon our level of financial aid.