Last week, the Miami Herald published an article called “UM paves way for fewer cars traveling around campus” that outlined a set of policies known as the UM Mobility Plan, last revised in July and available through a quick search of the university’s website. The report highlighted how the university used measures such as designated parking lots, discounted Metrorail passes and Hurry ‘Cane shuttles to drastically reduce vehicle use and traffic around campus.
The article portrays the effectiveness of the Mobility Plan through rose-tinted glasses. It cites that school shuttles run in intervals of five to seven minutes. However, students who use the shuttles are more familiar with daily inconveniences such as overcrowded buses or significantly longer wait times during rush hour.
In addition, the article and the Mobility Plan report both discuss subsidized public transit passes as solutions for employees and students, but only about 370 individuals from the Coral Gables campus use these discounted Metropasses, according to UM’s Mobility Plan report. Advertisement of this program to students is virtually nonexistent, so many students are unaware of how to sign up for this discounted program.
The available day parking options offered by the Mobility Plan are also subjects of student concern. Now that the discounted Ponce de Leon Garage will soon be used for UHealth staff and patients only, it raises the question of whether an alternative discounted parking option will be made available for students.
No doubt, decreasing the need for vehicle use around campus creates a safer, quieter campus environment, but the creators of these policies need more input from the individuals most affected by these changes and most familiar with the day-to-day challenges of moving around campus: students. If it is students who are paying for parking, waiting for shuttles and riding public transit to get to classes, research and internships, it is students who should have a voice.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.