As classes began Monday morning, students and faculty alike saw what it means to host over 37,000 undergraduate students.
Parking, which has long been a concern for those traveling to campus, was remarkably impacted – though overflow parking at the Greek Orthodox Church and a reliable shuttle system attempted to alleviate some of the pressure.
The success of the contingency plans might have seemed questionable to students, though, as cars backed up the entirety of Beach Drive and Merriam Way Monday morning. By 9:30 a.m., “Lot Full” signs had been posted at the entrances to at least three campus lots, with hopeful drivers circling the levels of parking structures near the College of Business Administration and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
“It’s my first day here and it took me almost forty-five minutes to find parking,” said Miami Abdulal, a freshman mass media and communication major. “I printed out a map to find the parking lots but all the lots I went to were full. I got here at 11:05 and I didn’t find parking until around 12. There was also traffic on the 91 because they’re doing construction right now.”
In an email blast sent to students and faculty on Aug. 18, the Office of Administration and Finance offered tips to make traveling to campus easier, especially during impacted hours when most students arrive to and depart from school.
The email included information on the best routes to enter campus, including turning on to Merriam Way to access Parking Lots 3, 15, 17 and 18 and using West Campus Drive to access Parking Lots 4-7.
Alternative route options were tied in with updates on the construction project that added 152 employee parking spaces to Lot 7 and necessary information regarding the License Plate Recognition system being used for daily, semester and annual parking passes.
While parking lots seemed to bear the brunt of the new crowds, congestion on major campus pathways and within classrooms also contextualized the recent influx.
Despite the inconveniences the crowds can cause, they do prove one thing – the Beach is the place to be this fall.
Samantha Diaz contributed to this story.