Does new parking pass the test?

Photo by Lakyn Shepard/Art Editor
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Student drivers wait in line to be admitted into UBOB parking garage, Monday, August 28, the first, official day of classes.

Lauren Moore
Blazer News Editor

Hannah Davis, freshman in nursing, arrived to campus on Monday, ready to begin her new routine as a college student. After being rejected from the parking pass she paid for this semester, Davis spent two hours looking for a place to park.  

“I spent over an hour looking for parking and even drove past Glen Iris Elementary School,” H. Davis said. “This is my first year here but I wasn’t expecting such a hectic parking experience.”  

Mitchell Stooksberry, on the other hand, said he arrived at 9 a.m. and was done with his entire parking process by 9:15 a.m.

“I love the idea of having a parking pass only for where you want to park,” Stooksberry said. “I think parking is going to go a lot better this year than it went last year.”

According to Andre Davis, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, the old parking pass system merely gave students a “license to hunt,” allowing students to find a parking spot. These spots, however, were not guaranteed, causing UAB Transportation to rethink what is most efficient for campus transportation, implementing a five-year plan that includes new zoning of the student lots.

“We’re very excited to switch to the zone-based system,” A. Davis said. “Through our parking and transportation study, we heard overwhelmingly that students really wanted more ease in finding parking.” 

Starting this semester, students can choose between four parking zones with a range of prices. Zone A allows parking only in the 16th St. deck and Zone B is only in the 12th St. deck. Zone C is only in express Lot 1 and a lot pass can be used in any lot 15 for commuting students or any lot 17 for residential students.  

“The biggest misconception about parking is that there is not enough,” A. Davis said. “However, the Express Lot 1 has never been filled.” 

More universities are beginning to implement this kind of zoned parking, especially at urban universities like UAB. Due to it being in the middle of a city, UAB is landlocked and must find creative ways to expand its parking. If students do choose to park far away from where they need to go on campus, Blazer Express’ bus system makes it easy for them to park their car and catch a bus. 

Students are also encouraged to download the TransLoc Rider app to help navigate the Blazer Express buses. 

“It’s a live-based GPS app,” A. Davis said. “It has a lot of features, including the ability to select routes and set bus reminders.”

 In addition to new parking, commuting and residential students are encouraged to use the other services that UAB transportation has to offer, including EV, Zipcar, MARS and Safety Escorts.

UAB Transportation is also looking to increase its social media presence, adding new additions like live tweets updating students on parking and traffic starting this semester. Because parking has always been a sensitive subject to students at UAB, some embrace the new parking zones while others remain skeptical. A common fear among students is that UAB will sell more passes than there are spaces available, making parking difficult to find.

 A. Davis explains while this is true, it is a necessary step in order to ensure all commuter students have parking spots. 

“Many students at UAB are commuters, who typically occupy parking spaces for less than six hours,” A. David said. “Basing permit sales on a system in which only one hangtag was sold for every space, thousands of students, staff and visitors would be denied access to parking in lots that were often left half-empty. The zone-based system will help with this dynamic and allow students to more easily find a parking space.”

This thought process, however, does not resonate well with all students.

“They upped the price without giving new options,” said Kruthika Gurukkal, a senior in neuroscience. “It didn’t do anything to improve commuter and resident parking.”  

Other students said they feel these changes show UAB is listening to the student body’s needs.

 “I believe that the zoned parking will help cut down on the hassle of parking at UAB,” said Faith Turner, senior in biomedical sciences. “I also believe these zones will help students use the Blazer Express to get back and forth from academic buildings and the express lots.” 

Though some students are unsure of the switch to zoned parking, A. Davis asks that individuals try the new system before making judgements. 

“I encourage students to just try the buses,” A. Davis said. “Try Blazer Express.”
About - Student Media

UAB Student Media is the home of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s student-run media outlets. They include Kaleidoscope , an award-winning weekly newspaper; BlazeRadio, our 24-hour online radio station live on the TuneIn app; Aura, a much-heralded literary arts magazine; and UABTV, original, web-based video programming. UAB students operate all media. The articles, posts, newscasts and opinions are solely those of its student writers, producers, editors, deejays, etc. and do not reflect that of the university, its administrators or the Student Media advisors.


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