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Monday, May 27, 2024

Parking problems can intensify during Homecoming

Days before the Homecoming game, the hunt begins. People start searching, swerving and weaving in and out in search of the right parking spot.

"When you get a parking pass, it's not, 'You have a spot,'" said Mark Ray, a resident assistant at Murphree Hall. "You have the right to hunt for a spot."

During Homecoming, the number of people wanting to park on campus will drastically increase while the number of available spaces significantly decreases, said Ron Fuller, assistant director for Transportation and Parking Services.

Students can be displaced by the lack of parking, but UF's transportation division sets aside parking lots outside of Tigert and Criser Halls specifically for those students, he said.

Students have a chance to park in those spaces until midnight before the game, after which anyone can park there.

Ray said that the Wednesday before the Homecoming game, he will search for spots in these designated areas.

He said he does not always find a parking spot and ends up moving his car to a friend's apartment complex, where he can get a visitor's pass.

After students have been given the opportunity to find other parking spots, any remaining cars in reserved areas are towed.

Transportation services is only responsible for the certain parking lots on game day, Fuller said.

At the large commuter lot on Gale Lemerand Drive, remaining cars are towed, but only to the grass area. Cars are then ticketed, but the owners are not charged a towing fee. Transportation services pays the fee.

"You're being inconvenienced," Fuller said. "We're not trying to find a way to get more money out of students, but we've got to clear the lot."

On game day, when tailgaters start appearing on campus, transportation services transfers almost all responsibility to the University Police Department and the University Athletic Association.

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"The closer you get to game time, Ocala may be the next option." Fuller said.

Lt. Chuck Snowden, of the parking unit and special services at UPD, said that with thousands of people coming to campus, parking does become an issue.

Usually, though, UPD has few problems with tailgaters. Tailgaters do a good job of cleaning up after themselves, he said.

As long as they stay out of restricted parking lots, fire and bike lanes, taped off areas, service drives and sidewalks, they will not be ticketed or towed.

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