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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Jammed In

Closed Parking Lot

15,309 people have enrolled at UMB for the fall semester. More students than ever before jam our university’s corridors, buses and parking lots. Now, Lot A has been cut in half to make way for the construction of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

With on-campus parking at a premium, students are tired of the back-ups.

“There already wasn’t enough parking!” Kelsey Colon, a student that drives to campus every day, said of the parking situation. “You need to get to school by 9 a.m. to get a decent spot.”

According to a 2010 report from the Department of Environmental Protection, 60 percent of the people who come to UMB, students, faculty, staff, drive to campus.

Steve Martinson, Director of Transportation commented on the rise in drivers.

“That is a trend in the wrong direction. The amount of drivers has risen steadily as the parking lots have improved (from dirt to gravel and from gravel to pavement). We are striving to be a greener campus and would naturally like to see more people using public transportation, or other means of conveyance,” said Martinson. “Plus, more drivers equal less parking spaces.”

There are 2,600 spaces on campus and another 1,300 in the parking lot at the Bayside Expo Center. Martinson explained how lots are monitored by campus police and how they’re prepared for the huge amount of traffic that they take in every day.

“Parking spaces fill based on enrollment and the lots fill in sequential order. So for example a lot of students are enrolled in 9 a.m. classes so by around 8:30 the South Lot fills and few minutes later the North lot fills,” he said. “By 8:40 a.m. The Beacons lot is full and so is the one down the line until about noon. If all the lots are filled we have to start sending people to Bayside. But we want to avoid this as much as students do. Transportation Management is a self-running, self-funding program, so we really do not want to have to pay an attendant to work the Bayside gate or a shuttle bus to take students to campus.”

Martinson also pointed that if you’re running late to your 9 a.m. class, you might as well head down Mt. Veron Street to Lot B and skip the likely already full South and North Lots.

“Two thirds of our income is used to pay for the shuttles. They cost 95 dollars an hour each, and they have to be ordered for a minimum of five hours. That comes to about a thousand dollars a day per bus. So we try to keep a close watch over how many students are coming and going and send buses away if we can. We have a bus that runs from Bayside from 8am until about 1 p.m. We try like to keep people out of the bayside lot. If the on-campus lots have not filled by 1 p.m. we know from tracking this every day that they are not going to so we cancel the bus running from Bayside and get the attendant out of there so we can stop paying for them. We try to have enough service available and back it off whenever we can to save the expense. It is very important that we at least break even as far as paying Crystal Bus Company and upkeep so that the University does not have to cover the cost.”

The last time the price of parking changed was January 1, 2004. It was raised from 5 to 6 dollars.

Ashley Overto drives from Walpole. She expressed anger over the charge. “It stinks because we pay a lot for school, and we have to pay to park. They reduce the amount of spaces and we still have to pay.”

Martinson pointed out an easy way to save.

“Not enough students buy passes. Buying passes saves money and time. For instance if you buy a 5 day parking pass it costs $29, as apposed to paying six dollars a day for five days ($30). The more passes you buy, the greater your savings. It saves time because you just have to swipe a pass and go. You don’t have to fumble for your wallet, count out six bucks, talk to the attendant. Plus with a pass you can get into any lot at any time, closed or not so you can hunt for open spaces or wait for someone to leave.”

To avoid paying to park at all, and still drive to campus, there are some options. You could park at Harbor Point or Savin Hill. After 2 p.m. , you could park in the local area when residential parking ends if you don’t mind walking. Finally, of course, you could park in any lot and wait till 11:30pm to go home after the attendants have left.