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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Campus

Zone E congestion causing UH commuter concerns


Zone E, on the edge of campus near Cullen Oaks, Cambridge Oaks and The Quad, is regularly congested on class days. | Malachi Key/The Cougar

Zone E, on the edge of campus near Cullen Oaks, Cambridge Oaks and The Quad, is regularly congested on class days. | Malachi Key/The Cougar

While students often find the first weeks of classes challenging when it comes to parking, this Fall 2022 semester saw more issues than usual with an overflow in Zone E causing concerns for some commuters.

On Aug. 22, the University Parking and Transportation Services sent out an email to permit holders noting that they were aware of the potential for Zone E congestion and suggesting several spaces were likely to be open.

The next day, they sent a follow-up email offering students a chance to change their permits to a different location, in addition to temporary access to Zone F due to heavy congestion. Throughout the first week, staff was also on hand to direct students to spaces.

“During that week, there were basically no spots left if I got there past (10 a.m.),” said communications sophomore Glenn Junsay. “I got lucky that they opened Zone F up, though. That was the cherry on top for me.”

In response to the incident, UH Parking and Transportation apologized, noting the challenge of accurately predicting how many spaces would be needed for the school year.

“Forecasting occupancy and permit sales is not an exact science and is based on varying criteria, such as the number of spaces in a given zone, type of usage and surrounding parking availability,” said UH Parking and Transportation staff.

They went on to note that Zone E had not been overfilled since the first week and emphasized the recent addition of two parking garages, bringing the total number of spaces on campus up to over 20,000. 

However, for many students, parking challenges remain a significant struggle, with some claiming it creates significant issues for people with disabilities. 

“I couldn’t find anywhere to park whenever I needed to come to campus,” said media production junior Melle Mattney. “I have missed classes before because there was no parking, and when I lived on campus, I was told the spot I paid for could not be guaranteed due to sporting events.” 

She continued expressing frustration over the lack of a viable solution.

“Personally I don’t see a viable solution besides building more parking, which would probably be further from campus due to space,” Mattney said. “And I’m disabled, so I can’t walk from further parking lots to class.”

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