After 30 minutes I was still circling the parking lots, hunting for a spot in the same area code as my classes.
I began to wonder what, if anything, the University administrators are thinking about. Do they have to park? Have they noticed the clustered flocks of cars darting and hovering in lots all over campus? Until now, USF has been largely a commuter campus – and yet the parking situation is atrocious and has only been getting worse. A parking pass is merely a lottery ticket.
Pulling into a metered spot is out. All the meters last an hour and all my classes run an hour and 15 minutes, so I kept circling, feeling like a vulture hungry for road kill. Roaming the lots brings out the very worst in people. Aggressive, competitive and dangerous tactics to gain a spot are rewarded. The only win-win technique I have seen work to pick up a walker when he or she is near the lot and offering to drive him or her to his/her car in exchange for the parking space.
To mock me, the giant and very poorly maintained grass lot between the Engineering building and the Library was closed. The only reasoning I have seen is some nonsense sign about rain damage – when it hasn’t rained for a week. A new sign replaced the old one, simply and coldly informing the passing driver of the lot closure.
USF is plagued by a poor campus layout, poor parking lot locations, poor building locations relative to the lots and points at which foot traffic crosses vehicle traffic. This University requires an actual plan and should not just continue adding buildings in a haphazard fashion.
Last semester, engineering students who wanted to burn the midnight oil were kicked out of the Hall of Flags, also known as the fishbowl. The school administration claimed not to have the resources available to leave the building open 24 hours. Nor do they have the resources to keep the Library open 24 hours. At least they extend Library hours the last week of the semester, but students need these resources more often than just that one week.
Meanwhile, the administration wastes money to put up some gates, not making a completely gated campus of course, but just one intended to limit vehicle traffic. How big of a problem is this, really? Relative to other improvements needed at this school, some limited fencing seems insignificant. The troublemakers who want in will still be able to get in through the main entrance. Meanwhile, the multitudes of people who don’t want to drive an extra five miles in a giant circle to get on and off campus get the shaft.
How much can it possibly cost to provide adequate parking facilities for off-campus commuters as well as residents, to find the resources to add all-night study locations for those students who need longer hours? Address your priorities, USF.