New semester, same story: students frustrated with parking
Recent changes to parking have left students still frustrated about current parking conditions.
The Office of Parking and Transportation added new resident (R) spots on the top floor of the Crescent Hill Parking Garage last semester which were previously non-resident student (S) spots. According to a handout the office included with the purchase of new permits, R spots were added to lots 20 and 43.
However, residents feel like this still isn’t enough parking, especially with the recent demolition of half of Lot 16 to make room for the new Publix being constructed on campus.
Elizabeth Roach, a freshman majoring in English, said parking has become more difficult this semester.
“I’m a resident at the Holly apartments and I’ll say that ever since they started construction of the Publix on the North campus, parking has become more stressful,” Roach said. “Especially, last night I was in that lot and there were no parking spaces whatsoever. Compared to last semester there was always plenty of space and there is not enough parking. Looking into the future when they do open the new dorms, there will not be enough parking to suit all the students who live north of Holly.”
According to Aaron Nichols, Assistant Director of Communications, Parking and Transportation plans to make changes.
“The new lot that will be built as part of the Laurel Drive extension work will have approximately 300 spaces and has a targeted completion of July 2018,” Nichols said.
After phase two of The Village is complete Fall 2018, it will have the capacity to house 2,000.
Despite the attempts by Parking and Transportation to add more spots, Non-Resident drivers are also frustrated with the lack of parking options.
Kalvin Bazan, a sophomore majoring in biology, said he has similar complaints.
“Parking availability definitely needs to improve,” Bazan said. “There definitely does not need to be more pay-by-space, but instead more space for students to park at. Money is wasted into unnecessary things. Parking should definitely be improved on.”
The price of an S permit is $183 annually, while resident parking is $226 annually. Compared to other Florida universities USF is quite expensive. According to their respective websites, Parking at UCF ranges from $95 to $100 annually, UF charges $160 and at FSU student parking is free. None of these universities differentiate from resident and commuter parking.
These high prices are feeding into student outrage about lack of accessible parking.
“The fact that students have to drive around for hours with not enough parking for everyone is ridiculous especially if you pay for a parking pass,” Bazan said. “Parking passes are robbing students especially with limited parking spots. There are students facing financial issues or can’t afford it in general and the university wants us to pay more for passes.”
Nichols said the issue isn’t with a lack of parking, but underutilization of spaces by students.
According to Nichols, there are many parking lots and garages that aren’t in prime locations are underutilized. He said that you may not always be able to park right by your classes.
According to a utilization survey conducted in October 2017, 74.6 percent of parking spots at USF are being used on average. This leaves roughly 6,000 spots that are left empty and that could be designated for other use.
Students also believe that there needs to be better utilization of available spots.
“It seems to me that a lot of reserved spots are not being used while so many S permit holders are unable to find spots while those remain vacant in front of them,” Tariq said. “I think the student body and parking services should meet in the middle and work out a better layout of designated parking spaces for students, employees and visitors.”