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Friday, September 29, 2023


Frazzled drivers stress UH parking

With enrollment rising and campus development blocking parking spaces and lots, University officials are trying to ease parking tensions for students with a series of lot improvements and constructions.

"In recent years, parking has become more problematic, especially during the first months of the academic year," Director of Parking and Transportation Services Robert Browand said. "Increased enrollment and the loss of parking due to campus growth are the major contributors."

Parking and Transportation Services has expanded several parking lots around campus to relieve parking congestion. Lots such as 6A next to Taub Hall, 8A on Cullen Boulevard and 18A near UH Law Center have been expanded to add approximately 350 parking spaces.

The paving of Lot 4A on Wheeler Street will improve parking efficiency and expand parking capabilities, Browand said.

PTS has also reached out to other campuses to improve parking convenience. Last year, the University entered into an agreement with Texas Southern University to use its parking lot at Rosewood Street and Scott Street. That lot has 230 spaces and parking is offered to UH students at no charge.

This year, PTS has reached an agreement with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church to use its lot on Wheeler Street, across from the University of Houston Department of Public Safety building, during the weekdays. The lot holds 140 vehicles.

The construction of a new east parking garage will begin this fall. The new 1,500-space garage will serve students, staff and visitors. The new garage will be built on top of Lot 20A along Calhoun Road. The garage is scheduled to open during Fall 2009.

"Our next steps will be to expand Lot 16E (next to McDonald’s,)" Browand said. "Lot 16E expansion could add another 200 spaces and is still in the concept phase."

While some of the improvements are still taking place, students still feel the strain of parking difficulties and regulations.

"I was ticketed for parking at the meters by the (Campus Recreation and Wellness Center) and not paying for them," said electrical engineering sophomore Shannon Harrison, who said she parked at the meter five hours longer than what she paid for. "At the time I didn’t know that students couldn’t park there for free. If they don’t already, they should include a flyer with all the parking policies when they send you your parking sticker for the year."

Approximately 45,000 citations were issued last academic year, and last fiscal year $1,136,293 in citation fines was collected, Browand said. Student appeals are heard by the Student Traffic Court, which the Dean of Students Office oversees.

Some students are considering not having a car on campus to not deal with the parking issues.

"It’s easy having a car on campus even if you live there because if you need to go somewhere you can just get up and go," pre-optometry sophomore Amy Mo said. "But at the same time, the times I had my car on campus I didn’t really use it so I felt like I was just wasting my time fighting for a space."

Events such as football games or Houston Dynamo matches strain parking even more.

"The bigger the event is, the more the disruption," Browand said. "Anytime you bring people to campus that aren’t normally here, it affects parking availability."

But students also have daily complications in finding parking.

"It seems like parking is just hard no matter what day it is, as long as it’s in the morning," Mo said. "Mondays are really bad, but it calms down a little on Fridays."

As parking continues to be an issue on campus, students hope the building and expanding of new lots will make the life of the driving student, commuter or resident, a little easier.

"I definitely think that these improvements will help the congestion," Harrison said. "But I know that people who commute will always have a hard time finding parking places."

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