Heidi Cuevas | Assistant Opinion Director
Parking is a nightmare for anyone who has a car at FIU. Whether you are a student or staff, there is never enough space for all of us.
In the recent Hidden Roary event sponsored by FIU Parking Services, the winner would be upgraded from student to faculty parking. It seems like an innocent prize initially, but it contributes to the parking nightmare staff face.
Kyra Ramirez, a graduate teaching assistant, revealed that she has been in two car accidents in the parking garages since she started working in August of this year. She has dealt with the parking nightmare every day since.
After finding out about the upgraded student-to-staff parking, her frustration grew.
“At some colleges, when you win upgraded parking, it is in a designated spot… I think FIU should have two spots reserved for stuff like that, so it’s not an issue with taking away parking from other people,” says Ramirez.
The staff’s struggle for parking has been overlooked for some time now. At first, I thought professors had no clue what it’s like for students to find parking, but it has come to my attention that it is just as difficult for them as it is for students.
Staff parking is for anyone who works at FIU, not just teachers, while admin parking is reserved solely for administration. There are thousands of workers and students at FIU, but it seems that FIU ignored this when creating the parking spaces.
Like students, staff pay for parking, but it’s not the same amount.
It accounts for how many semesters they need parking for and their annual salary, while students pay $95.13 per semester due to the Transportation and Access Fee. Nonetheless, It is a large sum of money for a parking space that is too far, exposed to the scolding hot sun and is more trouble to find than it should be.
So, even though we are forced to pay for parking permits to attend FIU, there is nowhere to park.
These parking garages also lack proper spacing. There is not enough room to safely turn without breaching the opposite lane or risk hitting the back end of a car parked in the corners. These are accidents waiting to happen.
As someone who drives a relatively small car, a Toyota Corolla 2020, I can only imagine what it is like driving a truck within the FIU garages. It is a ridiculously tight space, and drivers must be ultra-vigilant in the garages for any dangers.
It’s common to overlook these dangers when late to a class or meeting. A state of panic and frustration boils as the garages fill up, which can result in reckless driving. It becomes a dog-eat-dog world when drivers are fighting over parking spaces.
And staff are not exempt from these dangers. As designated spaces fill up for faculty, they look for other spots intended for students. This takes away from students while delaying professors.
Even though students and staff deal with poor parking conditions, students have it arguably worse. Staff has the entire first floor and a large portion of the second in all parking garages, while students park on the third floor and up. Also, parking spaces fill up earlier for students compared to the designated staff parking spaces, which fill up in the afternoon.
Parking should be the least of our worries, but I can’t help wondering if my car will be the next victim of FIU’s poor parking garages. Unfortunately, this issue will persist until we see actual change.
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.