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Parking Services garage fiasco was unacceptable

Anyone who visited USF last week likely noticed signs alerting the campus that the south entrance to the Leroy Collins Boulevard parking garage directly across from the Library was supposed to be temporarily closed for renovations, starting Monday.

The University went through great expense and effort to promote the closure, which, in addition to construction, was intended to address the heavy pedestrian and automobile traffic in one of the school’s busiest areas.

The validity of protest from students, faculty and staff over the wisdom of the closure was cemented when Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) backtracked Friday and decided not to close the garage entrance at this time.

The proposed closure was set to take place during finals week, one of the busiest times on campus and, with the Library serving as a Mecca for studying students, a horrible time to close the Leroy Collins garage’s main entrance.

It seems that PATS leaders lacked the common sense to understand that it’s foolish to close an entrance to the busiest garage on campus during such a sensitive time, when the project, apparently, could have started a few weeks later post-exams, when the garage is hardly used.

For some reason, PATS leadership couldn’t foresee these problems until just a few days before construction. In an email to The Oracle PATS Director Manuel Lopez admitted to the timing problem and stated that it was a main reason for deciding against the project.

But that was after money was already wasted on flashing road signs and ads in The Oracle.

Another reason behind backtracking on the closure was because “our external traffic consultants were able to gather sufficient data this week to eliminate the need to shut down the access points to the garage,” Lopez said in the email.

It’s unclear how pedestrian or motor traffic would have been tracked entering and leaving a closed garage entrance, making this excuse a strange one at best.

PATS leaders and their superiors in USF administration must realize the seriousness of their job and the current economic environment, both of which require them to not waste University resources for questionable projects that shouldn’t have been approved to begin during such a hectic time anyway.

PATS needs to undergo a serious self-examination to identify shortcomings in leadership that led to this parking garage fiasco.