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Monday, December 9, 2019

Opinion

UH Parking Twitter shouldn’t get harsh comments


Students often vent their frustrations with parking online. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Parking is one of the most widely complained about and hated aspects at the University of Houston. It has always been one of the biggest problems on campus and will likely always be a problem due to the nature of parking on college campuses everywhere. Circling in full lots looking for spaces, walking for long distances in the blazing heat and frustration in general are all frequent experiences for permit holders.

Student complaints can be heard all around campus but also on social media. UH has always maintained a presence on social media, with accounts on Twitter for the bookstore, dining services and many other services. The University is considerate of students’ needs, and complaints do not go unheard.

UH Parking and Transportation Services maintains accounts on Facebook and Twitter, which is where students often vent their frustrations. Outreach manager for Parking and Transportation Services Richard Zagrzecki said their social media presence serves to help them learn from students’ frustrations.

Zagrzecki made it clear that there are many misconceptions about parking on campus. A lot of students assume Parking and Transportation profits from charging students to park on campus. In reality, the pricing is so high because the parking department is actually using the permit money to fund their entire operation.

Parking and Transportation is part of Auxiliary Services at UH, meaning it does not receive any funding from the University or the state. The permit prices are reflecting the millions of dollars in debt the parking office takes on in order to run the shuttles around campus, build the parking garages and maintain the day-to-day operations. The parking department is also currently working to improve the visitor parking program in order to lower prices for permit holders.

“As a returning student, zone parking has dramatically improved the ability to find parking compared to 10 years ago,” said health and human performance post-baccalaureate Megan Brown. There are now five garages, and ground has been broken on Garage 6.

The growing student population contributes to the lack of spaces, but Parking and Transportation is working quickly to make spaces available and offer alternate methods for getting students to campus.

The COAST program allows individuals to carpool more easily and use alternative transportation like the METRO to get to campus. The shuttles around campus can easily be tracked through the UH Go app, which offers a live map of each shuttle’s location and route. The Cougar Ride system allows students to safely get home late at night on campus. These are the services the permit prices help fund, so it is our job as students to take advantage of them.

The next time you find yourself circling lots looking for spaces, take a deep breath and know that people who care about the students and faculty at this University are doing their absolute best with what they have been given.

Rachel Reynolds is a liberal studies junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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