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Letters to the Editor 5-23

Increase in parking fees will reduce students’ stress

I am writing in regards to an Oracle article published on May 16. This article concerned the famous topic of student parking and how it continues to be a problem here on the Tampa campus. A solution to this “mundane affair” was voted upon at the meeting at the Sarasota campus among the Board of Trustees.

The discussion at hand is a very controversial topic, but I strongly feel that it needs to be talked about and reviewed before the public. It is the education of the students that is at hand, and, therefore, their future is what is being hindered.

For many years, USF has been a transit college where many students work and go to school and do not necessarily live on campus or in the surrounding area. A high percentage of students commute back and forth from home, work and school only to come to campus and find no parking readily available, and therefore must wait several minutes for a spot to open up.

The stress of leaving home or work and driving a distance to make it to class on time produces students who begin their daily college experience on a negative note. If a student is running late for whatever reason, it puts them at a disadvantage with the other students.

Every day, the Tampa area continues to grow and expand. Due to USF’s central location, and the fact that it is not located in a small college town where everything revolves around the university, matters get complicated. As a result of the high percentage of commuter students, most students do not reside near campus and are not within walking distance of the school.

Since there are other attractions and activities for tourists in the surrounding area, traffic and congestion increase dramatically.

As a result of these situations, there is a great demand for more parking spaces or the construction of a new garage. As the number of students enrolled at the university increases each year and USF’s notoriety also increases, the parking issue will continue to be a problem.

As a research university, USF draws many professionals who also contribute to the increase in population. A decision needs to be made, and there has to be a solution within a short period of time before the dilemma gets further out of hand.

Since most of the members on the Board of Trustees have not been on campus to experience this situation first hand, they do not know what a student actually goes through when trying to find parking. They can only suspect and think that they know what it is like.

I firmly agree with Board of Trustees chairman Dick Beard who says he would rather have the parking space available instead of a lower fixed fee.

Students complain every day about the parking situation here at USF. As the number one complaint around campus, student parking is just another headache to the board, and it is as though this never-ending problem is getting overlooked.

I believe the approved new parking fee will help to resolve the parking situaiton. I think the students on campus, and especially the ones who commute, will happily pay the extra $5 that will be charged onto the student parking decals to provide the income for the construction of a new parking garage.

The way I look at it and as far as I am concerned, I would much rather pay an additional $5-$7 upfront to get more parking space instead of paying for a $15-$20 ticket that I receive each time I park illegally because there are no parking spaces available.

In conclusion, the parking situation at USF is one that affects the student community at its heart. It sets the pace for the type of day the student is going to have, it contributes to the stress already associated in getting a higher education and it reaches into the students’ pockets where many times there is nothing and could impact the university experience of present and future students.

This “mundane affair” needs to stay a priority on the agenda of the Board of Trustees.

Tara N. Escribano is a freshman majoring in elementary education.