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UNF Spinnaker

Opinions: Vehicular War

Trent Gautney, Opinions Reporter

If you have driven on the UNF campus anytime in the past couple of months you have probably noticed a glaring problem: there is absolutely no parking to be found. Attempting to park in the garages anytime past ten in the morning is a form of vehicular war. 

What is being fought over so ferociously? 

The spot vacated by the poor student that had been stalked by two or three cars on their way back to their own vehicle. 

Once one has given up on the futile attempt at finding a spot in the blue lots they must brave the dreaded lots 14, 18, and 53. There they are forced to choose between the lengthy walk to campus or taking the chance on a bus getting them to class on time.

This year, the university has introduced its largest freshman class ever. That is over 2,500 new students to create a student population of well over 16,000. Despite these daunting numbers, no new parking spots have been created.

As most faculty members and students are aware of, this has created a huge problem for individuals attempting to park on campus. The upcharge of blue lot parking passes have become nearly worthless and even the grey lots quickly fill most of their spots. 

This is made even more problematic by the fact that UNF is a commuter-heavy school by nature. Of the 16,000 students currently enrolled, only 22 percent live on campus. This means that somewhere around 12,400 students are forced to battle their way into a spot on campus if they want to be able to get to class.

It is long past due that the university’s administration take action and begin construction on new spaces. Whether that means expanding the current garages, adding new garages on parking lots or relocating certain lots, it is clear that something needs to be done.

Obviously, there are many environmental restrictions that prevent UNF from expanding in the ways that most universities can. The fact that it is essentially surrounded by an environmental preserve does pose certain challenges when dealing with issues such as these. 

This is not an excuse to do nothing.

 If we want to continue to allow the university to grow at the rate that it is currently, we must do something about the parking situation. The administration has the resources and ability to enact these changes, it now only needs to be done. 

The changes to be made could be as simple as providing a better shuttling system that incentivizes individuals to park in the outer lots or even off campus or restricting the sale of blue lot passes to upper level students. Prices on blue lot passes have already been raised and grey lot passes lowered in order to provide these incentives, but clearly this is not doing enough to prevent people from trying to park in those lots. Students need assurance that the school’s transportation system will provide a better job of getting them to class on time than parking closer to the university would.

We do not necessarily need extensive changes to mitigate the parking problem; there are ways that we can redistribute the bulk of vehicles without altering the entire layout of the campus.

There may be challenges and annoyances when dealing with the problem of parking and obviously the solution is not going to happen overnight. Nonetheless, it is time that the university’s administration takes the first step and begin to deal with a problem that should have been foreseen long ago.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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