UB parking problems persist
Students say overcrowded campus is cause for lack of parking
Nick Pariso said the campus is significantly more crowded this year. The lines for food in the Student Union are longer, it’s difficult to walk the hallways without feeling cramped and on-campus housing is limited.
But worst of all, he said, there are no parking spaces.
Student parking is so limited that Pariso, a sophomore finance major, has paid more than $500 in parking citations over the last two years. He parks in faculty lots and carpool spaces and said if he were to look for spaces in student lots, he would be late to class.
Jacob Sobilo, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said it might be because UB has the largest freshman class ever. UB admitted 3,995 freshmen this past fall, a 12 percent increase from 2015’s freshman class. The university has acknowledged students’ frustration with parking, but students feel the university should create more parking space.
In 2015, there were 1,000 parking spot left at noon on Wednesdays – the campus’ busiest day – said Maria Wallace, director of Parking and Transportation. Her advice was for students to arrive to campus earlier.
Pariso said he thinks the solution is to look into adding a parking garage or reduce restrictions for certain lots, rather than encourage students to live on-campus.
“There’s not enough housing on-campus,” Pariso said. “When you have to subsidize housing at the Villas on Rensch for freshmen students because you don’t have enough room in Richmond, I mean come on, that is an issue.”
Sobilo said he has also noticed limited space on campus.
“On a whole, I just think it’s ridiculous that a state-funded university can’t accommodateparking for everyone,” Sobilo said. “This school just overcrowds in general – like dorms get bunk beds now, which is ridiculous. [J1]
Alex Stojanovski, a junior engineering major, commutes from Lancaster and said the parking situation is “frustrating.” He’s never had a parking ticket, but he’s skipped class and gone home because he didn’t want to “deal with parking.”
“The solution is a proper allocation of funds,” Stojanovski said. “We don’t need a painting on the side of Greiner Hall or Alumni before we take care of the bare necessities.”
UB issued 17,750 parking citations in 2016, said Chris Austin, assistant director of Parking and Transportation. But students feel the university should take a stronger stance on the lack of parking and not so much on giving citations.
A graduate student raised concerns over parking at a town hall meeting last semester with President Satish Tripathi.
“It wouldn’t be a faculty meeting without a parking complaint,” Tripathi responded with a laugh. He didn’t offer any specific answers or solutions and said the parking problem is part of a larger question of how best to transport students between the three UB campuses.
Pariso said the parking problems are now affecting his classes.
He had a hold on his account for a $50 parking citation from last semester and was unable to register for his classes in time. He now has to take his business calculus class over the summer.
“That’s not something I can’t just cough up, it’s going to take a couple days for me to get that, whether someone has to transfer money to me or what, it’s ridiculous,” Pariso said. “And how do they expect me to get to class?”
The individual ticket isn’t the problem but it becomes a problem once fees accumulate, Pariso said. Parking and Transportation will now allow a student to renew his or her permit until all of their fees are paid. If a student is unable to get a new parking permit, they are more susceptible to citations for having an expired parking pass.
Parking and Transportation emails students a week after his or her citation and informs them of outstanding citations before registration periods, Austin said. Placing egistration holds for outstanding violations is a long-standing practice at UB and other colleges and universities across the country.
Sobilo said that in order to avoid the parking citations, he has to park far and deal with the commute.
“I used to have to park in Special Events parking while I had classes in NSC and you get out of your car in the winter and you see Clemens on the horizon and think ‘wow Clemens is the halfway point,” Sobilo said. “It just kind of sucks, if I described my commute to you, you’d probably think I’m from Rochester or something, but I live like three minutes, .7 miles away.”
Sarah Crowley is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org