Opinion

Parking solution: curb freshmen commuters

Walking to class one day a few weeks ago I heard the crushing of two cars. As I turned my head to look, I saw that a student had hit the passenger side of a car in the spot next to her. After she brutalized the car next to her, she took off in search for another victim.
Two things in particular grabbed my interest after witnessing this mess in the Memorial Building parking lot. One was that, despite the fact there were other people standing around, no one bothered to write a note or take notice of the license plate. The other was the unfortunate realization that this could happen to anyone one of us, and not just as the result of another careless driver. We pay a huge sum of money, $235 a year, to park in incredibly small spaces, and risk damaging other cars and our own on a daily basis. And that is just one of the many parking problems on campus.
Another problem commuters and residents face is the low number of available parking spaces. As a commuter, I need to arrive at school half an hour or more before a class just to get the “left over” spots. Those are easily defined as the spots that are outlined by the two surrounding cars parked over the white lines, making it next to impossible squeeze into the coveted slots. Is there a solution to this continuing problem? Of course there is, although one may not be cheap and the other may not be fair.
The obvious conclusion would be to build more parking. Plans to build a garage at Pavia Street, the Mahoney and Pearson residential colleges, and three more floors on to the Ponce de Leon Boulevard are going to be extremely helpful in relieving the morning headache. A slightly less fair but more practical and immediate solution to the problem would be to prohibit freshmen from driving on campus. Many schools around the nation have used this tactic to solve their parking woes. There would, of course, have to be some way to reconcile the freshmen who commute. Perhaps the opportunity for limited parking available to local freshman commuters in outside lots would be an option. We have no perfect solution. And it is quite possible that many are upset at even the suggestion that parking should be a privilege. The number of incoming freshmen seems to be increasing every year. This makes it extremely hard to accommodate the parking needs of students. The most logical solution would be to take away the privilege from those who do not even have it yet. If it means a temporary solution to a growing problem, maybe we should all consider it not only as a solution, but as a way to prevent other cars from being hit.
The construction of new garages means temporary loss of the spaces that were previously placed in those spots. By eliminating freshmen from driving to campus next year it would allow for a more comfortable transition.
Denise Kolb is a sophomore majoring in criminology.

February 8, 2002

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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