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Saturday, December 10, 2022

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Despite plans for new parking lots, students petition for more solutions


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| Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

It’s no secret that parking is one of the University’s biggest flaws. With over 40,000 students enrolled, commuters make up about 85 percent of the entire undergraduate population, making it seem impossible to accommodate everyone.

During a recent meeting, Parking and Transportation Services and the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee announced two new parking lots would be built by Fall 2019.

A $2.3 million asphalt lot by the Energy and Research Park to accommodate 1,000 spaces will be ready by next fall. Plans for a five-story garage located near the law center and Hines College of Architecture and Design were discussed as well.

The $30 million project is likely to be finished by Fall 2019 and will be accessible to all students and staff.

“The new garage will be in lot 18A,” Director of Parking and Transportation Bob Browand said. “We’re looking at an 18-month project with the space count of the stadium garage which is about 2400 cars.”

Even with TPAC’s efforts, many students currently enrolled are unsatisfied because they said they will not reap the benefits of the new parking lots.

Law student John Hwang began a petition addressed to President Renu Khator urging the administration to take measures to alleviate the parking issues.

With 1,818 supporters so far, Hwang said the wasted hours in the parking lot daunt his Cougar pride.

However, he believes solutions are possible with the help of students.

“I got involved in making a difference because of James Lamey,” second year law student and petition supporter Grace An said. “He actively pushed law students to fight against UH regarding parking issues and helped us become more aware on how we could make a difference.”

Elliot Kauffman, a TPAC chair, said he is aware of the petition and takes students’ concerns over parking seriously.

“There are so many steps that go into building these new lots and garages but we hope to have many of (Hwang’s) ideas implemented in our master plan,” Kauffman said. “As a student and commuter myself, I didn’t just join TPAC as a resume builder — I experience the same obstacles. More importantly, I encourage students to come to the town hall meetings and contact us directly with any questions or concerns they have.”

The University is working with Parking and Transportation Services and the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee to come up with new alternatives and solutions.

Hwang and Lamey’s supporters know a quick and easy solution is probably not possible and that change will most likely occur when they are gone. Both hope the administration will make parking concerns a priority so that students won’t graduate UH with a bitter taste in their mouths.

“I hope people have seen John Hwang’s petition to President Khator, and more importantly, read it and added their signature to the cause,” Lamey said.

“John is a friend of mine and fellow law student, and although we may not see the benefits of our efforts before we graduate, we and many other concerned students have tried to improve our school.”

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