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Student board addresses parking concerns

Alexis Ortiz, a grad student, Yijia Liu, a  grad student, and Steve Taglia, a sophomore,  ride the Hurricane shuttle, a key piece of the UM transportation system.  Students can ark in more open lots further from class and take the the shuttle to avoid getting parking tickets.  CHELSEA MATIASH // PHOTO EDITOR

Alexis Ortiz, a grad student, Yijia Liu, a grad student, and Steve Taglia, a sophomore, ride the Hurricane shuttle, a key piece of the UM transportation system. Students can ark in more open lots further from class and take the the shuttle to avoid getting parking tickets. CHELSEA MATIASH // PHOTO EDITOR

Ever feel frustrated or lost in a sea of full parking spaces – or have you ever waited a bit longer for the Hurry ‘Canes shuttle to pick you up on a cold, cold day?

Ever wonder where student suggestions and complaints about parking, shuttles, and other transportation issues end up?

The Department of Parking and Transportation Advisory Board is a group of six students who are responsible for gathering student input on a number of transportation programs at the University.

Composed of three campus residents, two commuters, and one University Village (UV) resident, the board’s primary purpose is to gather student’s concerns and opinions about campus transportation issues. It also renders decisions on parking appeals that students submit via MyUM upon receiving a parking ticket.

“It’s made up of a diverse group of students so that we make sure we have a cross-section of students represented,” said Richard Sobaram,director of the Department of Parking and Transportation, “This is really to make sure that we get a student’s perspective with regards to parking on campus, the shuttle service, and more.”

Sobaram, having begun his job last semester, worked closely with Student Government President Brandon Gross to establish the board.

“This is something that didn’t exist in the past,” said Gross, a senior, “Something that was glaring and missing with parking and transportation.”

Gross, who made a campaign promise last spring to ease congestion on the Coral Gables campus, worked closely with the Department and the advisory board to open Wellness Center parking lots to commuters. Now, the board is concerned with promoting shuttle access to the Serpentine Parking Lot by the Bank United Center.

Dan Lazaro, a senior, has headed the advisory board since its creation last semester.

“It’s basically the facilitator group between the students and the administration getting their concerns and suggestions,” said Lazaro. “We’re starting to more accurately solicit student feedback.”

The main focus of the board is to now improve upon the current University transportation system, according to Lazaro. They concentrate on fixing what is working improperly with parking and transportation. A study is being conducted on campus shuttle efficiency to identify where the deficiencies are in the University shuttle system.

The board also decides on whether student-submitted appeals for parking citations are sufficient or not to be overturned.

“We want to make sure peoples appeals are heard properly and it’s a fair system.”

A frequent misconception, according to Lazaro, is that parking appeals are handled by the administration.

“Those parking appeals great straight to our advisory board,” said Lazaro, “Parking doesn’t tell us to appeal any certain amount. It’s solely our decision. If we think something should be appealed, its appealed – if we want something rejected, its rejected.”

According to Sobaram, the most important purpose of the board is to provide student input in the Department’s planning and operations.

“I want to see them truly act as a advisory board. Say, how about we do X-Y-Z next year or take on this initiative the year after?” he said, “sometimes we just see things from a different perspective. Just getting their perspective on what students need is invaluable to me.”

To contact the board with questions or comments contact Dan Lazaro at d.lazaro@umiami.edu.

February 4, 2009

Reporters

Ramon Galiana

News Editor


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.