Laquavia Smith/ Contributing Writer
Florida International University has always gone the extra mile to ensure that their faculty, staff and students are comfortable as well as in an eco-friendly, energy efficient environment. From water-bottle re-fillers to water bottle collecting machines, FIU has thought of everything. With their newly developed parking garage PG6, they want to ensure that our academic experience is as smooth sailing as possible.
Over the years, FIU has made major changes that have affected us. Some of these changes include LED lights, “go green” graduation gowns and even virtual parking decals. The virtual parking decals have honestly been one of the best things Parking and Traffic could have done.
Over the years, I was so used to seeing different color sticker decals with FIU in big letters on the back window of cars and even the fuzzy adhesive left from where one tried to remove the sticker. Now to not only avoid damage to the thousands of cars, trucks and SUV’s on all of FIU’s campuses, getting rid of the physical decals actually saved paper. No wonder we’re the most energy efficient, eco-friendly campus in Florida.
If we think about how many students, teachers and non-instructional faculty attend our campuses just imagine how many papers would have been used for decals alone. I can recall one of my friends tweeting, “wow, FIU decides to go virtual after I have four parking decals ruining my Hyundai.” I laughed so hard at the tweet just thinking about her dark blue four-door sitting in the driveway of her house as if it was the spokescar for FIU. Parking decals are like lent, you can remove a little, you can remove a lot but you’ll still have a few pieces left on your black jeans.
However, as a student who commutes to the BBC campus and rides the shuttle, I’m not at all affected. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve driven into campus and spent over 20 minutes to find somewhere to park. Here is what I’ve learned from my experience:
Tip number one: Come early. Tip number two: Come early x2. The best time to find parking on FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus is between the hours of 6:30am and 9:30am, anything after is war. Yes, new buildings are amazing and effective, but how effective is a parking garage if your car is more than 50 miles away?
At times, I feel as if the most renovations and/or add-ons and development happens on the main Modesto Maidique campus. Don’t get me wrong, BBC has recently been blessed with exceptional dormitories and a new paint job, however parking will always be an issue for us.
Aside from the parking decals and newly placed parking garage, the ability FIU gives you to switch vehicles throughout the year has helped me tremendously. As a freshman, I never drove to school, however once I entered my sophomore year I used my mom’s white Mercedes-Benz and would constantly get citations, 20 dollars here, 15 dollars there. It wasn’t until I got a car of my own that I realized I needed to “add on” my vehicle.
A year later, my lovely Red two-door Fiat was added on and in business, until summer came. Later on in the year, I had to put my girl on the bench, and back to the Benz I went, however instead of paying a fee of $15 plus, I was able to delete my vehicle and add my mom’s. Being able to edit and delete has truly saved me money and worry.
All in all, If I reminisce on the parking and traffic situation at FIU — on all campuses — I do still have a few complaints. Within the BBC community specifically, morning traffic through Alonzo Mourning High School is killer and unfair. It definitely adds on 15 minutes to my commute and I wish there was another route or a lane solely for cars traveling to the University.
Aside from traffic, the shuttle situation is unfavorable. I’ve always questioned why I have a parking deduction from my tuition without it going towards my commute, at least not where I can see. If you all are unfamiliar with the Panther Shuttle, it’s $2.50 per person, per trip.
Let’s say you are a Monday, Wednesday and Friday student, that’s $15 dollars a week you are spending solely to get from MMC to BBC and vice versa.
As a commuter, I find it unfair and even inconsiderate to have to pay such a high price for transportation to a place I already pay to go. I’m not sure when things are going to change or if they will change at all, but I do know change needs to happen and I’m pretty confident numerous students feel the same.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photos taken from Flickr.