Laughing Matters, Opinion

McGill needs fewer pedestrians and more cars

McGill is known for its efforts to ensure accessibility, but one key component, and arguably the most important, is being overlooked: Car accessibility on campus. While being in the heart of Montreal might not be conducive to such an intricate road system, it’s positively too much to ask students to walk all the way from Otto Maass to Leacock.  

Budapest, Paris, and Munich, while beautiful, lack one important thing: Motorways everywhere. For this exact reason, McGill should follow the likes of Kansas City and Dallas in their emphasis on motorways per capita. McGill must create more roadways on campus for faster access to buildings and increased efficiency—students would be able to get their work done much faster if they didn’t have to walk everywhere. 

Montreal is known for not being car-friendly, whether that be because the roads are, to say the least, subpar, or because of the interconnected nature of the city. Yet, a car not only gives you more personal space than public transportation, but it is also much quicker than walking from place to place, especially during peak hours. Everyone should have the ability to drive through the cobblestone streets of Old Port as opposed to walking through it. There’s no need to admire the picturesque buildings of the surrounding area or to window-shop and peruse their merchandise. Instead, you need to focus on getting to your destination as quickly as possible. 

Parking garages are beautiful. Anyone who opposes them simply cannot appreciate the brutalist architectural style. The Old Port is without a doubt a nice part of Montreal, but a five-story parking garage would only bring a modern flair to such an outdated area. Any opportunity for a garage would increase tourism—bringing much-needed traffic to the streets and creating a festive atmosphere.

Why, then, should McGill adopt roadways? Simply for increased maneuverability across campus. The Redpath Museum might be architecturally aesthetic, but it feels incomplete without a parking lot. Traditionalists will ask where the parking lot will go. My response? It should be built on Lower Field. All that space is not being used optimally, especially when taken up with an ice rink during the winter. But a parking lot could finally put all that green space to use and considerably boost the attractiveness of the university, in turn increasing McGill’s revenue.Instead of a skating rink, the McGill community could rejoice in slipping and sliding across a parking lot and avoiding near death.

Oftentimes, students have back-to-back classes, requiring quick transportation in a gas-guzzling machine. Having a roadway cutting directly through campus would remedy this. Purists will point to the inconvenience of having to wait to cross a street in the middle of campus, but this would, in fact, help students reflect on the simple moments in life and appreciate the time they have at their drivable university. 

McTavish, in particular, should be open to vehicular transportation. McGill students are tired of walking up the hill from Sherbrooke to Stewart Bio, and allowing vehicles would ultimately make students more productive, and boost their GPAs. And to ensure that no student is hit by a car, pedestrians would obviously be forbidden from McTavish. If this causes an unjustified uproar among conservative students, establishing one crosswalk on McTavish to cross at their own risk should suffice. 

It’s time for Montreal and McGill to stop reinforcing archaic notions of tradition such as pedestrians and public transit. The age of progress is here, and we must allow cars to have immediate access everywhere. If McGill doesn’t sanction this modernization, then students are likely to tire themselves out before they even get to lectures, and this will lead UofT to finally dominate the rankings. When Montreal starts banning pedestrians in areas such as Old Port, McGill could follow and look less like a university and more like a highway.  

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  1. I can’t decide if this is a joke or not, please clarify…

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