Housing students face dilemma with Fair

Aubrey Carr/ Staff Writer

Anyone who has been on the MMC campus during the month of March is sighing heavily because of the horror of the Miami-Dade Youth Fair – a horror that is on par with finals week.  

When I started living on campus as a freshman, anytime anyone complained about scarce parking, an older student would scoff and reply, “Just wait until the fair gets here.”  We younger, naïve students didn’t think anything of it and figured they were complaining the way all native Miamians complain about any traffic situation, even when it’s not that bad.  

And then the Fair arrived, and I had to admit, sitting in my car one evening for over an hour and a half in what was normally a 10 minute drive home from work, that those wise scholars were right.  

It was the rudest fellow drivers had ever been to me in traffic, and I had to convince security to let me into some alternative entrance to the school because I lived there, even though I had no proof on me.  It was another half an hour of driving, desperately searching for an open parking space so that I could just go home and eat.

 It was worse than when the light went out on 8th Street and the morning commuters turned into uncoordinated ants, trying to squeeze their way around minivans and trucks to get an inch farther down the street.  It was worse than trying to get gas and water before a hurricane.

The entire situation I and many of my peers have always faced every March is because the Youth Fair has always used FIU’s parking lots, like lot five by the theatre department, and lot seven by the stadium, to make room for some 600,000 fair-goers every year.  

However, External Relations recently sent out a letter stating that, “this year, Fair management has chosen not to contract with FIU for parking of Fair patrons,” and anticipates that this agreement will lessen traffic on campus, although traffic around Coral Way and SW 107th are still expected to have similar congestion as in previous years.  

However, lot five is still being utilized until April 24 — one of the primary lots students and housing residents use when lot six is full, so there is still a serious parking issue, even if it’s lessened.  Parking has been extended by FIU to the Greek Housing Lot and the PG5 overflow lot, but that’s a long walk for someone with groceries to get to the dorms.

It’s no secret that FIU and the Fair have been on bad terms.  Efforts were made last year to attempt to relocate the fair, to no avail.  In 2014, voters approved a referendum to move the Fair elsewhere, an idea Mayor Carlos Gimenez, amongst other notable members of the county, supported; and last year students created a petition to attract attention and invoke change.  

Obviously, none of this has done more than to fuel the fight over the 90 year lease the Fair has on Tamiami Park.

At the time of publication, FIU’s Parking and Transportation was unavailable for comment as to what FIU got out of this agreement with the Fair and why it was established in the first place.

But, no matter the reason, the Fair should have never been allowed to use our parking lots. The property universities occupy are for academia, yet sporting events and fairs take priority over the educational environment and disrupt living situations for students who have already paid thousands to be here.

There are 16,000 parking spaces for a school of 56,000 students, 3,200 of whom live on campus.  For those car owners who reside here, it feels like an invasion of our home.  

Where else do we store our vehicles if all the parking is taken?  How do we get inside our dorms if we have trouble getting on to campus and out of our cars?  Moving the fair is the only reasonable answer.  Grievances will only be exacerbated if this fight continues.



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.


Photo take from Flickr.

Be the first to comment on "Housing students face dilemma with Fair"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.