Commuters crave convenient parking

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Is it luck or skill? No, I’m not talking about our football team; I’m talking about finding parking, especially at the north end of campus where more of the classroom buildings are located. Getting to school half an hour early just to find parking is borderline ridiculous.  Walking to class is one option, but the bi-polar weather scares me personally and if you have a car, why not use it?  Apart from the lack of spaces, the size of the available spaces are quite snug.  There are a few exceptions, such as the School of Communication, but I have personally been a witness to people having to get in their cars on the passenger side and crawl over. Is it a problem? I would venture to say it is.

Now that a problem has been established, let’s find a solution.  Since the school is limited to certain square footage, building out doesn’t seem to be a logical solution.  But, how about building up?  A parking garage in the School of Communication parking lot or the Dooley Memorial parking lot would be an answer to our parking nightmares.  Commuter students pay $444 annually or $222 per semester for a parking pass.  That’s a hefty sum of money for such inconvenient parking.

Director of Parking, Richard Sobaram, former student of UM for both his undergraduate and graduate degree, is no stranger to the unhappiness over the parking situation.  He, however, said, “We don’t have a space problem, we have a [convenience]problem.”  There are adequate spaces available for all students; they just aren’t located in the most convenient places.

Sobaram provided different perspectives on ways to combat the parking issues.  His first suggestion was to have the university spread out classes in order to reduce demand.  He points out that the bulk of classes are held between 9 and 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and a plausible solution would be to hold more evening courses and more courses that extend through Friday.  He notes, however, “The problem is that students and faculty don’t want that.”

Another solution Sobaram offers is to only allow seniors to have the privilege of parking in the lots closest to the classroom building, forcing sophomores and juniors to park in the parking garages and at the Bank United Center.

There are many reasons why the university has no plans to erect a parking garage in the northern part of campus.  Sobaram points out how difficult it would be to get a permit to build the garage, but beyond that he said that each parking space would cost about $18,000, so producing 1,000 spaces would cost about $18 million.  These figures are exuberant, but I still wasn’t convinced that it would not be a logical financial endeavor.  But, to my surprise, Sobaram’s next point completely changed my mind.

He pointed out that the University of Miami’s ranking has been rising every year.  Now as #47, Sobaram said, “We’re going up in the ranking and that’s not by chance.  We are making such great achievements by using our resources to hire the best faculty, recruiting the best students in the nation and advancing the technology available in the classroom.  We’re not bettering ourselves by putting up another parking garage; we’re not going up in the rankings by having more parking closer to the classrooms.”

As frustrating as the parking situation can be, taking the time to plan in advance and arrive to school about 20-25 minutes early.  Also, take advantage of the newly added spaces available for commuters in the Mahoney/Pearson parking lot, Eaton and the UV.

If students or faculty have any questions or concerns about parking, you may visit www.miami.edu/parking or call customer service 305-284-3096 Option 1.

Rebecca Zimmer is a junior majoring in sociology. She may be contacted at rzimmer@themiamihurricane.com.


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