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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Opinion — Alternative means of getting around

Harry Stine/NW
FREE TRANSPORTATION — The bike I now use to get campus, as parking has become too unreasonable for me. Biking is just one of many ways you can get around without having to cough up the change for gas money.

It almost goes without saying that parking on campus is rough. From my experience, if I don’t leave an hour before class, I have to park on a street off campus and walk a few extra blocks. Or if you’re a student who doesn’t have a car, that opens up a whole other bag of problems. Maybe you do have a car, but you simply care more about being eco-friendly. This has led me, and the North Wind editorial staff, to find alternate means of getting to class and around town.

The obvious answer here is that if you live close enough, try biking or walking to campus. It’s free, it’s good for you, and sometimes that extra time spent outside before class helps clear your mind and makes you ready for the day. Those extra fifteen or so minutes might change your mood for the entire day. Biking is always fastest, but if you don’t like trekking up Marquette’s many hills, or paying the occasional bike repair expense, one might lean towards walking.

However, then the question of grocery shopping arises. It’s certainly not safe to bike or walk along the highway to Meijer, and way too time consuming in the first place. Besides, it’s not like you could easily bring multiple bags of groceries home using only your two hands. The highway pretty much separates the two most crucial parts of Marquette.

That’s why I spoke to student Eli Williams, who fights the car-centric infrastructure in Marquette county like no other. Living in Ishpeming, Williams only goes into town on days she absolutely has to, and tries to stick to biking around town during the rest of the week.

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One of her tactics for getting to Marquette is taking advantage of the little-known student benefit of discounted Marq-Tran rides to get to campus. By placing her bike on the Marq-Tran’s rack, she can use it to get around Marquette once she reaches campus. Still, the system is not without its negatives.

“I have to plan it out perfect,” Williams said. “They only run one per hour, they stop running at 6 p.m. and they take the lunch break from like 11 to 1.”

Still, taking the Marq-Tran might be the best bet students who don’t own a car have at getting groceries.

Students on and off campus can also try starting a carpool with friends and neighbors. Sure, it takes some planning, and it all depends on whether or not everyone’s schedule matches up, but it can seriously cut the cost of driving. On top of that, carpooling is better for the environment, reduces the miles put on each vehicle, and reduces the amount of stress put on yourself by making it a group responsibility.

Many of these solutions aren’t perfect, but neither is driving to campus and around Marquette. Parking is horrible on campus, vehicle upkeep is expensive, and gas prices aren’t looking too good either. Besides, CO2 emissions in the Upper Peninsula aren’t awful, but they’re still above the average.

So if you’re sick of these aspects of local driving, or you don’t want to spend $150 on a parking pass when you’ll park off campus anyway, try the alternative. You might just like it.

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About the Contributor
Harry Stine
Harry Stine, Opinion Editor
In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without even knowing AP style at that point, I started doing the occasional contributing writer piece for The North Wind. My frequent topic was satire. When I heard The North Wind was going through another round of hires, and a spot was open for an Assistant Features Editor, I applied in a heartbeat. I still do the occasional satire piece, but I take great pride in exploring NMU and Marquette for my topics, and finally having my head wrapped around AP style.