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ACCESS DENIED

The Serpentine parking lot [the Snake], located in front of the Convocation Center [C-Center], has been closed to resident students recently during special events. The Miami Hurricane has investigated the situation and found that residents are frustrated with these policies and ready for change.

According to representatives from UM Parking and Transportation, the lot is closed two hours before large-crowd events. Those already parked in the lot prior to the closure are not forced to move their vehicles.

The Snake has 344 regular spots, open to resident students when the Dickinson West Lot [D-West lot], facing the Wellness Center, is completely full. Patrons of the Wellness Center and visitors are also allowed to park at the Snake after 4 p.m.

The D-West lot consists of 273 regular spaces, 14 meters and eight disabled spots. It is open to residents and employees with the appropriate parking permit.

According to Chuck McConnell, director of the Department of Parking and Transportation, UM has sold “just shy of 2,000 residential decals.”

When asked the number of illegal parking tickets given by UM during any given time, McConnell said that he was unable to give out that information.

The Miami Hurricane visited http://www.miami.edu/parking/appeals/, however, and accessed every ticket that has been granted or denied an appeal.

Listed in the Jan. 23 review were 293 appeals of individual tickets dated mostly from December 2003 to January 2004.

In the Dec. 5 review, there were 250 appeals from tickets dated mostly from November to December.

McConnell says the whole campus is “just shy of 9,000 total parking spaces.” In addition, he says, “At any given moment, the Ponce Garage has 300 to 400 open spaces, while the Scodella and Red Road Lots have 250-300.”

Residents living in Hecht, Stanford and the apartment area usually park at the D-West and the Snake.

Some students have brought up the fact that many C-Center patrons sneak past security and park at the D-West lot during events.

McConnell says that is not the case.

“Those attending an event are never directed to the [D-West lot], or any residential lot, for that matter – they’re directed to the Ponce Garage, the Pavia Garage, [the Snake]and the Metro-Rail lots,” McConnell said. “Anybody could technically have access to that lot.”

Nevertheless, parking remains a problem during C-Center events.

“It seems like UM will do anything to make money – including giving parking priority to Convocation Center ticket-holders instead of students,” Trevor Green, junior, said. “Resident students pay a lot of money for parking decals, but what good does it do if there aren’t any spaces available?

“I feel like UM doesn’t care about me as a student – they just see me as a price tag or commission,” Green said.

Green also mentioned that many times, students realize that there is a problem with the C-Center parking rules, but they do not bother to say anything.

“You know how it is – you complain about things with your friends – and then you forget about it or you don’t know who to make a complaint to,” Green said. “Sometimes, even if you do make a complaint, nobody seems to value it.”

Christele Francois, freshman, has a full-year resident student permit valued at $298. She received a ticket for parking in the VIP Lot next to the C-Center, close to Hecht.

“There wasn’t room in front of the towers,” Francois said. “I searched for 20 minutes and still couldn’t find a spot.”

Francois said she eventually parked in the VIP lot because she had never been told that parking there was restricted.

“When I returned to my car four days later, I had received two tickets,” Francois said.

McConnell claims that restricting the VIP Lot from resident students serves a “dual use.” He explained that during the day, the VIP Lot accommodates commuter students, and at night is used for event parking.

“Unlike commuter students or those visiting the C-Center for an event, resident students can park in a spot for days or even weeks, thus potentially preventing space from achieving maximum use in the VIP Lot,” McConnell said. “There’s a trade-off: you can spend a lot of time looking for the closest space, or you can park where there is a greater likelihood of space and a convenience to the Hurry ‘Cane Shuttle System.”

For more information, contact the Department of Parking and Transportation at 305-284-3096.

Fizaa Dosani can be contacted at f.dosani@umiami.edu.

February 13, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.