Model parking after bigger schools

Spinnaker

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It’s a topic that gets coverage by the Spinnaker almost every month, and although parking has come a long way since UNF opened in 1972, it seems to always be at least one step behind perfection.

With its designations of being a commuter school and local college, UNF has suffered from lack of traditions and a burgeoning college life normally found on campuses like the University of Florida and Florida State University.

Since it is a commuter school, Parking Services should do more for the many students who hold full-time day jobs and attend night classes.

Among other parking issues, one resonating gripe comes from the students who are forced to commute via shuttles late at night when empty parking spaces around the core of campus are plentiful.

At many Florida universities, including UF and the University of Central Florida, parking restrictions are lifted after normal working hours – around 4 or 5 p.m.

Anybody can park anywhere on the UF campus after 4:30 p.m., and anyone with a valid decal can park anywhere on the FSU campus after 4:30 p.m and at UCF after 5:30 p.m., according to the universities’ parking services Web sites.

What do these universities’ committees have over the parking council at UNF? Apparently, a slightly higher level of common sense.

At these institutions, officials are aware of the commuting students’ needs and relax evening parking rules when working hours are finished and many students are no longer there to fill the spots.

Even the city of Jacksonville realizes this fact, and parking restrictions in downtown Jacksonville are lifted after 6 p.m.

At UNF, relaxed parking rules are not observed except for special events on campus and on the weekend.

But why can’t a more reasonable approach be taken to better serve the working students who only take night classes?

We’re talking about students who are not congesting the campus during the day yet have to park in distant lots.

Most likely, these are the type of students who are making the least use of services and amenities offered by the university.

Their full tuition and fees payments should give them some respect in requests for safe and convenient parking options.

UNF is looking to other universities to mold itself into a more traditional college with the Student Union, Greek Row and alterations with the intramural sports program. It should do the same with parking.

E-mail Jonathan Morales at [email protected]