Give the parking department a break & park smart

Almost everyone who drives a car to the University of Miami on a regular basis already knows that trying to find a good parking space on campus is like trying to look for a booster seat in Shalala’s chair – you know it should be there, but you just can’t seem to find it.

Parking has become an increasingly big problem for UM’s ever-growing population. Part of the problem is us, the students who refuse to park any less than three feet from the classroom where we have a lecture or those students who try to “tailgate” a faculty member into a gated parking lot (and don’t think we don’t know who you are: as I type this article, a team of under-paid and poorly trained graduate assistants are stalking you right now in order to follow you into your garage when you arrive at your home).

The other part of the problem was the Department of Parking and Transportation’s inability to effectively resolve the parking phenomenon. They were swamped by student complaints and repeated questions such as “Why is there no parking during the day?” and “Why do I pay for a parking ticket if there is no space to park on campus?” and my personal favorite, “Why don’t you let us park in a fire lane if there is no fire?”

Although the parking situation on campus is far from ideal, it has improved greatly over the past four years. The first step was to create perimeter lots around campus and introduce a shuttle service to ferry the students to and from campus hot spots. This service has become so popular that shuttle efficiency and destinations have increased more than an old man with a bottle of Viagra.

As an added incentive, the Parking and Transportation Department has offered discounted parking decals if you should choose to park in these lots exclusively.

One should also notice the two additional parking garages on campus (located on Pavia and at Mahoney/Pearson) to prevent any more violent hair-ripping from frustrated, car-owning students.

Yet, even with these improvements, some students have the galls to say that the parking problem has not been solved.

Yes, it is true that the department still issues more parking permits than there are parking spaces, but that is because not all 13,000+ students have cars and the ones who do are not going to park on campus at the same time.

Also, please remember that a parking permit does not guarantee you a parking space on campus; it simply allows you the PRIVILEGE to park on campus property. You’d be amazed what you’ll learn reading the fine print on the back of your parking decal while you are waiting for someone to leave a parking space.

By the way, that money you pay for the decal goes towards construction, maintenance and leasing of the parking lots on and around the campus (and a few palm trees). The Parking Department has done their job in making it easier for us to park on campus; now let’s do our part and recycle. . . oops, I mean, park smart.

So the next time you are running late for an 11:00 class and brushing your teeth in the car, don’t waste time going to the inner core lots on campus. Park in a perimeter lot, take a shuttle, make a silly face at the people you pass by and enjoy the view. . . after all, you are paying for it.

“Mad” Max Alvarez is a senior who has been here for way too long majoring in something or other…

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