Muddy grass parking lots around the UC, noise pollution by the Richter and construction every which way one turns has marred the once-pristine University of Miami Coral Gables campus, students say.
“It’s a mess and you can see it right when you come through the University’s main entrance,” senior Andres Ayala said, referring to the temporary parking lot across from the University Center [UC]. “This gives the University a bad image.”
Ayala said that the administration should find another place to accommodate the cars so that it does not disrupt the beautiful campus landscape.
According to campus planner Janet Gavarrete, three “green space” lots were designated to offset the loss of almost 200 parking spaces during the construction of the Pavia parking lot.
There are 120 spaces behind the Lowe Art Museum, 50 next to the Behavioral Sciences Building and 44 across from the UC.
Gavarrete explained that, although the Pavia garage is now open for students, the construction of the additional two floors to the Ponce Garage is not finished, so it is necessary to keep the temporary parking spaces available.
“Allowing students to park on the grass was a matter of convenience for the students,” Gavarrete said. “We are trying to accommodate everyone’s needs.”
However, to some students, these “green space” lots are not as convenient as they were intended to be.
“I know they are temporary, but we still have to pay the full price of the parking permit to park on dirt,” senior Justin Green said. “Students speed through the lot and kick up dust, you get dirty when you come out of your car, you go to class with your shoes dirty and your car gets messed up.”
“Its like off-roading. It sucks!” freshman Anne Durkin said.
Some students said they understand the need for the green spaces.
“I’m sure when people are hauling ass to class they don’t complain about the mess – they just park their cars and go,” sophomore Natalia Lopez said.
Freshman Michael Pelaez agreed, saying he would rather park on dirt when it is convenient rather than take a shuttle every day and that the lots should be made permanent because of their proximity to the UC.
“If it really damaged our cars there wouldn’t be BMWs, Audis and Mustangs parked right here,” Pelaez said.
Another area of concern is the noise caused by the construction occurring to renovate the Richter Library.
“Besides the constant barriers created by makeshift fences and yellow police tape, the noise is very annoying,” junior Lacey Hickle said. “I know we’ll all appreciate the changes once they’re made, but right now, it’s a little frustrating.”
Dr. Patricia Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs, said she has not received any complaints regarding the issue.
“Construction is messy, but I think everybody is happy with the developments,” she said. “If things never changed there would be no progress.”
According to Dr. Whitely, the construction is a result of a goal to improve the campus and enhance student life.
Once the construction is completed, there will be an additional 1,541 new parking spaces provided by the Ponce, Pavia and Mahoney/Pearson garages.
“The students will feel the difference,” Gavarrete said. “With more parking, more happy people.”
According to Gavarrete, the first floor of the Ponce Garage is currently open and the other three floors should be completed in 30 to 40 days.
The construction work on Pavia Street should be finished by next week, after the installation of a new waterline is completed, she said.
Gavarrete encourages students to remain positive.
“The ‘green space’ lots will be reconstructed and the campus will be beautifully landscaped again when all the construction is over,” Gavarrete said. “This has been an intense summer of construction.”