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Long-term planning needed for USF’s parking and traffic

Parking and traffic have always been hot-button issues at USF. With the arrival of the new Collins Boulevard Parking Garage this semester, the problems have abated a little, but it’s hard to please students, who all want to park as close to their classes or residence halls as possible. The garage is also only a temporary measure. Now, a new speed bump is being built on Holly Drive exposing the less-than-ideal traffic-flow planning on the USF campus, which may have to be rethought if USF plans to keep growing as fast as it has been.

When USF was founded, green space in the middle of the then-new campus, spreading from what is now Martin Luther King Plaza to the Fine Arts building, was set aside to remain a green center of the campus. This created a traffic-planning problem, as the rest of the campus was developed around this area, effectively banishing cars to the outer rims of the campus.

This is just how the campus is, and without major reconstruction it is how the campus will remain. Building a parking garage at the center of campus may have resolved the parking problem for the short term, but if enrollment numbers keep rising, this will be only a stopgap measure.

Garages in the center of campus create the same rush-hour traffic that plagues most American cities. By forcing high numbers of cars to travel in and out of the inner center of the campus to find a parking spot, such speed bumps become necessary as traffic flow all over campus is increased rather than focused on the outskirts.

But speed bumps create other problems: They force cars to slow down only to accelerate, which uses up unnecessary fuel and leads to increased noise and pollution. They also only deal with the symptoms of increased traffic flow but do not alleviate the problems themselves, often making traffic situations even worse.

For more long-term planning, USF will have to find a way in which students can park in locations relatively close to one of their classes or residence halls and then walk or use a shuttle to reach other locations on campus. Simply building more and more parking garages and speed bumps, however, will not help.