For $300, you can buy five UM sweatshirts, 15 biology workbooks and 75 Jamba Juices at the UC food court. It also buys you just one permit to park anywhere on campus, provided that you don’t end up paying more for parking tickets.
According to the Association for Commuter Students [ACS] and students, parking at UM is expensive. With a premium permit costing $298 a year and every citation typically ranging from $20 – $50, the cost of having a car on campus is almost as bad as buying books.
“I pay so much for parking, and I still have to park in spaces that are nowhere near my classes,” Kristina Zayas, junior and member of the ACS, said. “It’s always at least a 15-minute walk from my car, or I have to wait for the shuttle.”
Theoretically, the parking situation on campus has never been better. With over 1,500 spots added to the Coral Gables campus in the past year, there is a spot for every car.
According to UM administration, parking was a much needed priority on campus; however, permit prices have never been higher, and the convenience of these new spaces is debatable.
“There are plenty of parking spaces, but the lots are so far away and the shuttles take so long,” Natali Rico, historian for ACS, said. “And at the end of the day, I’m not going to walk all the way out there at 11 p.m. by myself.”
The construction on the Pavia and Pearson garages, the creation of four additional surface lots, and the construction of two additional floors at the Ponce garage gives UM students plenty of parking options. With about 9,000 students commuting to school each day, however, these options are not always available.
“I get to school at 8 or 9 [in the morning]every day, regardless of when my classes start,” Jackie Fernandez, Arts and Sciences senator, said. “I would never get a decent spot otherwise.”
ACS President Carlos Escheverri put it in perspective.
“There is enough parking on campus, just people don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of parking far away,” he said.
Students who don’t want to park in the garages can try for a closer spot. But be ready to spend some serious time circling the campus or following people to their cars.
The Miami Hurricane has found that parking in spaces close to the buildings on campus is almost impossible, even in the early morning, and by midday the only spots that are readily available are in the upper levels of the garages or in the discount lots on the outskirts of campus.
Don’t risk parking illegally, either.
Chuck McConnell, director of parking and transportation, estimates the number of tickets issued in a single day to be in the “low hundreds.”
Once a car has received three citations, it is subject to be towed. As the UM Parking and Transportation website explains, “Lack of a convenient parking space never excuses illegal parking.”
What might be surprising is that, despite how liberally parking tickets seem to be issued, there are still a high number of illegal vehicles parked in lots around campus.
The Miami Hurricane discovered that, out of 300 cars in the lot outside the Wellness Center last Thursday night, nearly 30 were parked in spaces designated non-visitor without a valid UM parking permit.
None of these cars were ticketed.
“I think tickets are needed,” Patty Doyle, ACS senator, said. “If someone takes up two spots or parks illegally, something should happen to them.”
Another complaint has been that the spots that are available have not been utilized correctly. There are a large number of spots in the Convocation North lot and outside of the Mahoney Pearson residential colleges that are off-limits to commuters and are not usually full.
According to administration, the management of these lots is carefully regulated by parking and transportation services.
“The parking situation is the best it ever has been,” McConnell said.
For updates on the parking situation on campus, tune in to 90.5, the UM radio station, to check for parking availability throughout campus.
Jillian Bandes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org