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Monday, September 24, 2018

Construction

Loss in parking spots adds fuel to current complaints


Despite the benefits that come from UH’s work in renovating the campus, it will come at a cost for students.

There will be an overall loss of parking spots this year, but it will be a temporary loss while UH Transportation and Parking Services wait for funding to finish the Energy Research Park expansion, said Elliot Kauffman, Student Government Association senator and Transportation and Parking Services Chair.

According to Director of Parking and Transportation Robert Browand, there are plans to eliminate the three temporary parking lots on Cullen, north of Elgin Street, in order to pave temporary parking lots 19C, 4A, 9B and Bayou Oaks.

According to Director of Parking and Transportation Robert Browand, there are plans to eliminate the three temporary parking lots on Cullen, north of Elgin Street, in order to pave temporary parking lots 19C, 4A, 9B and Bayou Oaks.

“We are working on a few parking projects,” said Browand, “but are still in the talking phase for most of them.”

There are also plans to start construction on a new parking garage on the north side of campus.

“To clear up any miscommunications regarding the Law Center,” said Browand, “we are not and never have talked about demolishing the parking lot near the center.”

As for how many actual parking spots are being lost this year, the numbers are not yet concrete, said Student Government Association senator and Transportation and Parking Services Vice Chair David Kazanci.

“The parking issue can be solved,” Kazanci said. “I think we’re on track to solve it. It’ll just take some time.”

The lack of available parking and the high costs of passes have angered the majority commuter student body. The students blame an unresponsive university, yet Transportation and Parking Services suggest it’s an inevitability of limited funds and time.

“I work a full time job to support myself, and I often wait an hour and a half in traffic getting to school,” psychology junior Anna Sheikh said. “There are a lot of students just like me, and they shouldn’t have to spend an extra thirty minutes trying to find parking.”

But this hasn’t ever been an aim for the University, said Student Government Association President Shaun Theriot-Smith.

“It’s a constant concern of the school to check in with us and see what the changing needs are of the students,” Theriot-Smith said. “They always want to know the forecast, and it hasn’t ever been an intention of  (the University) to box out a certain group of students.”

Students are often discouraged to attend games because they aren’t permitted to park in some garages, even if they have passes there, said Sheikh.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous that I pay almost five hundred dollars for stadium parking and then can’t park there on game days,” Sheikh said. “I have to pay ten dollars to park in another lot for the actual game.”

Unfortunately, the reality of a popular sports program is that these spots be made available to donors, said Kauffman.

“You have a ranked football team, and you have to allow the donors to come in and tailgate,” Kauffman said. “That’s a necessity.”

 

 

Kauffman said a lot of students have misconceptions about how funds are obtained for building new lots and garages.

The ratio of students to available parking spaces in 1997 was 2.226 students per space. In comparison, this year’s enrollment averages out to 2.13 students per available space, according to the University’s blog, “Word on the Street.”

It all comes down to finite resources, said Kauffman.

“The only reason the spots declined from the thousand that we originally wanted in (Energy Research Park) to 450 is because of costs,” Kauffman said. “They’re an auxiliary service, so they only get money through their revenues.”

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