Operation: OVERFLOW

USF’s student population is increasing, and that means more cars on campus. However, construction for new residence halls has eliminated about 150 resident parking spaces. Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said although a parking lot was lost for residents, accommodations have been made to ensure that more spaces are available for residents’ vehicles.

Sylvester said about 60 spaces were opened for residents by designating the lot in front of the varsity tennis courts along Maple Drive as a resident-only parking lot. Some, however, don’t think that’s enough.

Junior Joe Jordan said Parking and Transportation Services can’t accommodate the number of residents who have a vehicle on campus.

Jordan said his experience with Parking and Transportation Services inspired him to create a Web site for students to post their stories, which he has titled “horror stories.”

The site’s homepage greets users with “USF Parking: Extortion at its finest.”

In addition to the message board, the Web site contains links to articles published about Parking and Transportation Services in The Oracle.

“I was just personally frustrated with them,” Jordan said. “I spent some time looking around to try and find links (related to them).”

Jordan said when parking citation fees were increased from $20 to $30 he felt that the service was trying to make a profit off of students.

The citation fee increase, Sylvester said, is to ensure the public follows Parking and Transportation Services’ guidelines. Sylvester said those who spend money on a parking permit should not be penalized because others are taking their parking spots.

“We want people to comply with the rules and regulations,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester said the Park-N-Ride lot, located off North Laurel, is available to support the overflow of residents, which is also designated for alumni and visitors.

Sylvester said 1,350 parking permits have been currently sold to residents, which is 50 less than the number of decals sold at the beginning of last year’s fall semester. However, Sylvester said there is no limit to the number of permits Parking and Transportation Services can sell to residents.

“If people want them, we’ll give it to them,” Sylvester said. “But they may have to use Park-N-Ride as an overflow.”

But based on previous trends in parking permit sales, Sylvester said there is one space for every two students with a resident permit.

Parking and Transportation Services plans to establish a $10 million parking structure behind the Library within the next five years. Sylvester said there will be about 300 parking spaces lost once construction begins.

“We’re not going to have to worry about that until next fall,” Sylvester said. “There won’t be any ground breaking until then.”

But Sylvester said there is never a time when all parking spaces on campus are filled.

“We always have spaces on the north end of campus,” Sylvester said.

Inventories of the Park-N-Ride lot and a lot for non-residents and staff along West Holly, are taken during the campus’s peak traffic period, which is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sylvester said, and the lots are never full.

“Believe me, I would know because we would have a real challenge getting people on the shuttle buses there,” Sylvester said.