By: Pattrik Simmons/Staff Writer
Students returning to the University’s Modesto Maidique campus this spring semester will encounter new classmates, new professors and new parking spaces – at least for the first two weeks.
In order to accommodate the campus parking areas to manage the congestion between Jan. 9 and Jan. 20, a time period in which students meet with their advisers, purchase class supplies, or adjust their schedules, among other activities, the Department of Parking and Transportation has temporarily added 1,500 parking spaces, according to Kenneth Jessell, senior vice president of Finance and Administration, in a memo sent to faculty and staff.
“In addition to new faculty and staff, we will have almost 4,500 new undergraduate and graduate students calling FIU home for the first time. We believe these temporary changes will help accommodate the additional traffic and parking demands that normally arise during the first two weeks of the spring semester,” he said.
Out of the 1,500 new temporary parking spaces, 300 of those can be found east of PG5 Market Station. Tamiami Park will be host to 1,000 parking spaces, near the FIU Stadium and Lot 6. Two-hundred parking spaces will be available at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition location, which is near the bus terminal.
The Student Government Association and FIU Police are working closely together the next two weeks to ensure safety to students wishing to park outside of the regular on-campus parking areas, like Tamiami Park, according to Sanjeev Udhnani, SGA vice president.
Several students had difficulty finding parking during the first two weeks of the previous fall semester, including freshman business major Danny Galvez.
“Finding parking in the first couple weeks of school is like finding food in the Sahara. You have students aimlessly driving in circles all over campus, stopping at each and every parking garage,” Galvez said. “[So] I’m relieved to hear about the addition of temporary spaces in the first two weeks, and I believe they will be exceptionally helpful.”
For students, faculty and staff who decide to make use of these temporary parking spaces, additional shuttle service will be provided.
Along with the Panther Mover, which provides transportation between the Primera Casa building and the Panther Garage, there will be several pick-up and drop-off locations at the Tamiami Park and Fair and Exposition locations.
These additional shuttle services will be available from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. during the first two weeks only.
Tamiami Park will have a pick-up area on the western side, which provides a round-trip service to the Primera Casa building, including the Health and Wellness Center.
A pick-up location can be found in the center of the parking area at the Fair and Exposition, which will provide transportation between the Frost Art Museum and the Blue Garage.
A golf cart shuttle service will transport students, faculty and staff from the PG5 Market Station overflow parking area to the Chemistry and Physics building.
“I do not think the addition of permanent spaces to be unduly important. Maybe in the long run, but for now, the problem is at least easily defined – I just need to find somewhere to park my car,” said Galvez.