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Student ‘S’ parking permits outnumber available spaces

The frustration some non-resident students experience when searching for a campus parking spot could be the result of an uneven ratio of permits to spaces.

According to numbers released by Parking and Transportation Services, the amount of “S” parking permits sold for the 2009-10 fiscal year is almost twice the number of non-resident parking spots available – 21,656 permits for fewer than 12,000 spaces. In the 2008-09 fiscal year, more than 31,000 “S” permits were purchased.

Director of Parking and Transportation Services Manuel Lopez said there are always parking spaces available on campus for students.

“If the question is parking in front of the building that (you) need to go to, then … there’s a certain number of spaces,” Lopez said. “And when (those spaces) are full, they’re full.”

Not every student is on campus at the same time, Lopez said. As students leave at various times of the day, more parking spaces become available.

“I don’t know if the (criticism) is blown out of proportion,” Lopez said. “I can say that there is space available on campus at all times. Sometimes that requires people to park and get on a bus or park and walk.”

Operations Manager for Parking and Transportation Services Frank Granda said the campus has recently lost “some surface parking.”

More than 500 parking spaces were lost after parking Lot 9C was closed because of the construction of the new Music Teaching and Performance building located off of Laurel and Holly Drives.

Parking Lots 23A and 23B are temporarily closed because of construction of the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, Granda said. The lots are expected to reopen after the building is complete, he said.

Parking spaces in Lot 18A on Elm Street were removed during the summer after the street was repaved, Granda said. The lot’s 66 parking spots were taken out to add a sidewalk, he said.

“Even with those parking lots being taken out of commission right now, there’s still serviceable parking on the campus,” Granda said.

Parking lots 43, 47 and 18B and the Laurel Drive and Richard A. Beard Parking Facilities are parking areas that often don’t reach full capacity, Granda said.

Besides driving to school, students can use an alternative form of transportation such as walking, riding a bicycle, the Bull Runner or HARTline buses. Lopez said he “absolutely” supports these options as a way to alleviate crowding in parking lots and garages.

Colleen Dwyer, a senior majoring in management, said that alternative transportation is not “really an option” for her because she lives one hour away from campus.

“I get here at nine in the morning and every single lot is almost full,” Dwyer said. “I have to park at the complete opposite end of the Sun Dome, where (in the past) I used to be able to come right up front.”

Dwyer said she thinks this semester’s parking situation is the worst it has been since she transferred to USF two years ago.

However, Keven Rayne, a senior majoring in accounting, said he has never had a problem with parking on campus.

“Usually as long as you don’t arrive five minutes before your class … it’s not a problem,” he said.