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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Staff Editorial: SGA parking bill misses the big picture

The Student Government Association passed a bill on Wednesday in an attempt to help the parking crunch.

The SGA proposed the following solutions: a "five-minute grace period for parking meter time expirations," and a one-time allowance given to students who don’t properly display their parking permit.

SGA representatives said that it’s the least that the University can do because parking rates have risen 7 percent since last year, yet existing lots still remain in the same unpaved and horrible condition.

What’s sad about the bill is that SGA representatives don’t realize that these "solutions" will most likely result in larger problems. Giving students a break is always nice and considerate, but the members need to remember what the main problem is: limited parking.

If anything, this lenience will create a crutch for students. Because our student body is mostly composed of commuters, students who come for just one class will start using this as an excuse to park longer at meters and illegally park in lots, taking the spaces of students who do actually have their permits.

"We’re still students, and we make mistakes. That’s why we’re in college. We’re learning to be better adults," Bauer College Sen. Salman Amanullah said at the SGA meeting Wednesday. This seems to be a poor excuse for anyone to get away with this. The fact that Manuela uses this as one of his major points is sad. And to be honest, it says something about his assessment about our student body.

Many students take the responsibility everyday to remember to put up a parking tag, and if not, then they pay the price. Many students also park on the other side of the University, so they don’t have to worry about metered parking and possible penalties.

The SGA, and students, have failed to recognize, or possibly have even ignored that parking spaces are available.

With 232 spaces available, only an average of 37 cars are parking in the lot.

Although every student is annoyed with the parking situation, University officials have said that enough spaces are available.

Parking and Transportation Services’ estimate breaks down as follows: on average, 182 spaces remain available at the free Texas Southern University satellite lot on Scott Street and Rosewood Street; Lots 4A and 8A each contain somewhere in the area of 175 empty spaces daily; the parking garage has 100 spaces available; and construction is under way on 125 new parking spaces in Student Lot 18A, near the Law Center.

These numbers speak for themselves – that parking spaces are available – but students aren’t necessarily utilizing them. Perhaps the SGA needs to re-evaluate other factors as to why students are not parking in these lots. If it is because of distance, then perhaps we should recommend for more shuttle bus routes in that area.

Either way, a large discrepancy is here – if lots are going unused, we need to find out why, not automatically attack the University and place blame on them. Anyone can do this. As student representatives, the SGA has a responsibility to compose more comprehensive, detailed solutions for parking issues rather than translating student complaints to paper.

If the only reason why students are refusing to park in farther lots is because of laziness, then the SGA needs to reconsider who should be critiqued. If we, the students, are not fully utilizing our resources, then we should be the ones to blame and to be questioned.

As American playwright Neil LaBute once said, "If we don’t continually evaluate and re-evaluate ourselves, we fall into patterns and believe that what we’re doing is right."

Note: This version corrects the SGA senator’s name.

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