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A recent Journal article stated that Cal Poly Humboldt›s plans for student housing «include construction of two brand-new housing complexes ... as well as the addition of two multi-story parking garages." But parking garages are not student housing.

In fact, parking takes up extremely valuable space that could be devoted to housing instead. A typical parking garage requires at least 320 square feet for each vehicle. Dorm room layouts provided on Cal Poly Humboldt's website show the university requires as little as 50 square feet per person to provide accommodation in shared rooms. After adding a typical 20 percent to that floor area to account for hallways and other shared spaces, you could house five students in the space needed for one car. Want to build more spacious dorm rooms? Great! The fundamental fact doesn't change: You can almost always house a person in less space than it takes to store a car.

Keep in mind that we're talking about on-campus housing, meaning that the need for students to bring vehicles is much reduced. If the university invested in a moderate expansion of its car-share and bike-share programs — at a much lower cost than building parking garages — that perceived need could be pretty much eliminated.

It is outrageous that the university is planning to devote limited funding and even more limited on-campus space to parking garages at a time when the need for housing is at crisis levels. Publications like the Journal should not unquestioningly repeat the claims of university spokespeople that these garages are somehow part of the solution to student housing. They are actually part of the problem.

Colin Fiske, Arcata


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