At UB, with its large commuter population, parking is a major difficulty for students, faculty and administrators alike. University officials are beginning to address the parking predicament with a study conducted by Pennsylvania consulting firm Chance Management Services.
"It doesn't seem that there is any parking in Hadley, Ellicott and the Spine. Hopefully this survey will show the administration that there was a problem all along," said David Piper, a junior political science major.
"[The firm's] job primarily will be to focus on parking systems and transportation systems of both the busing and shuttles here at UB," said Clifford Wilson, associate vice president for student affairs.
Information culled by the study, which is expected to be complete by the start of next semester, will allow administrators to look at specific problems and possible solutions, such as incorporating parking ramps in the proposed Lee Road construction.
Were that to occur, the firm would alter its plans to accommodate extra time for UB to build the necessary complexes, said Wilson.
University action if the results are poor "would depend on the situation at hand," said Wilson. "If their recommendations suggested changing something about the current shuttle schedule, then this could be enacted rather quickly. Even then we would have to speak with the campus bargaining unit before any change was made."
"They understand our limitations and won't make recommendations we cannot do," he said.
The consulting firm has been on campus since last Monday explaining their procedures to university officials.
"As of now, they have been getting a feel for the place, talking to people, and getting a representative sample of the student population," said Wilson.
"The [survey] questions thus far have not been decided but they will be standard. For example, 'How satisfied are you? Where do you come from? Where are you living now?'
"Throughout their stay, as part of a survey instrument, they will coordinate focus group meetings in order to get a good feel for both the faculty and students."
Students will be notified when an exact date for the focus groups, now scheduled for mid-October, is set.
Until then, student dissatisfaction with on-campus parking continues unabated.
"I can never find a place to park. I have a class in Ellicott and I literally have to circle for half an hour to find a spot," said Amanda Morton, a junior environmental studies major.
"Personally I think freshmen living on campus should not be allowed to bring their cars. I know that is not fun, but it would solve a lot of the problems. I didn't bring my car up freshman year and I never had a problem," Morton added.
Tim Marvin, a junior history major, said, "Either the public transportation system is not adequate enough or people aren't being encouraged enough to use it ... I know that parking can be a huge problem and that very often people have to allow themselves at least 20 minutes to an hour to find a spot."