On-campus construction causes parking shortages

Students may have noticed signs indicating alternate parking areas when they pulled up to campus during the past weeks of class, a result of on-campus construction projects that have led to a reduction of available spots.

The ongoing construction of University Village, an on-campus student apartment complex that started in March 2005, has resulted in a one-year loss of surface lot parking options on the west side of campus that has reached a total of 750 spots.

According to Chuck McConnell, director of parking and transportation, the University is trying to accommodate students by making new spaces available in alternate areas. They include 75 new spaces on the grass behind the Lowe Art Museum for standard parking permit holders, and an additional 50 spaces at various locations. For students with discount parking permits, 250 spaces in Coral Gables municipal lots 42 and 43 by the Metrorail, are available. In addition, the location has been added as a new stop for the HurryCane Shuttle on the Stanford and Fountain routes.

“If you come on campus between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, try the Ponce Garage and take a shuttle to campus,” McConnell said.

Despite University efforts, some students find the parking shortage is still problematic.

“It takes students an hour sometimes to find parking, taking away from valuable class and study time,” Arti Shah, junior, said. “The University should make better parking arrangements to facilitate the construction phase.”

Part of the problem seems to be beyond the University’s reach. A recent press release states that, despite the University’s request for permission to expand its parking facilities in 2004, the City of Coral Gables has not acted upon its request.

Commuter students’ frustration towards parking shortages is not unique to this year.

“The situation gets worse every year,” Mailyn Fernandez, senior, said.

According to school officials, University Village will change student parking for the better, providing housing for 800 upperclassmen, graduate and School of Law students. In addition, the new housing will include two new parking garages with a capacity for 800 vehicles.

Future proposals also include two additional floors in the Pavia garage and an expansion of the Serpentine lot in front of the Convocation Center.

For additional information, please contact UM Parking and Transportation Services at 305-284-3096, Option 1.

Rahila Odhwani can be contacted at r.odhwani@umiami.edu.

– Total number of spots available to students: 8900

– Number of spots that are lost due to construction: 750

– News spots behind Lowe Art Museum: 75

– Additional spots in Lots 42 and 43: 250

– Temporary additional spots located throughout campus: 50