Can you find a spot?

Last fall, a USF student upset with the parking on campus set up a Web site where he, along with fellow students, could rant about what seems like a never ending dilemma.

While navigating campus commuter lots is often difficult on the first day of school, Monday commuters bore the brunt of some new parking hurdles.

USF is currently undergoing $250 million worth of renovations to its campus, and the construction makes finding a spot all the more competitive.

Parking and Transportation Services employed the aide of University Police on Monday to help direct the traffic flow.

“The police helped us keep the traffic running very smoothly, even though it was a very busy day,” said Greg Sylvester, director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Busy indeed. One parking official estimated approximately 60 spaces were all that remained by about noon.

In a news release Monday, Sylvester discussed the progression of the various parking construction sites around the Tampa campus to try to minimize the frustrations from students during the first week of school.

In order to get to class on time and avoid getting a citation, Sylvester said students need to develop a plan.

“The most important thing is (for people) to know what his or her parking and transportation options are,” Sylvester said. “Have a plan A and also have a plan B because spaces do fill in certain areas around campus.”

Senior Francis Rosario is taking precautions to ensure he will be on time to class.

“I try to arrive on campus at least 30 to 45 minutes before my class starts,” Rosario said.

Freshman Tosha McMillan said the traffic depends on the time of day.

“At certain times of the day, the traffic could get real heavy by the (Crescent Hill) parking garage, for example,” McMillan said.

Furthermore, McMillan, a resident student, also said she opted to walk to class today because she said it would have been a lot longer to wait for the shuttle.

Sylvester added that there are always spaces available in the Park-N-Ride lots.

“People should try to go straight to those lots if after a few minutes they can’t find any spaces in other lots,” Sylvester said.

Once completed the lot located in front of the Library and behind the Student Services building, will be transformed into a 1,500-space parking garage

“A vast majority of those (spaces) would be student spaces,” Sylvester said.

However, while in phase one, construction will take about two-thirds of that northern section of Lot 1 and some of the west side spaces in Lot 7, he said.

For those with a gold permit, a grass lot is open on the west side of Leroy Collins Boulevard. Sylvester added that one third of Lot 1 is open and is only available for staff members with a gold permit.

A renovated and wider Willow Drive has re-opened this week as an additional entrance to Lot 7 and subsequently as one of the main access points to forthcoming parking garage, Sylvester said.

Lot 25, across from Greek Housing, has also opened as a designated staff parking lot. Resident Lot 35, which is east of Maple Suites, is now open to resident students after an expansion added 200 spaces during the summer.

For Rosario, who drove to campus Monday, parking coupled with new construction, is a hassle.

“The moment (USF) tries to build a new parking garage on any existing parking lot there is going to be a shortage of parking spaces,” Rosario said.

Sylvester said students should contact the Parking and Transportation Services office with any problems or questions. Its Web site is www.usf.edu/parking_services/.

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