By Tommi Ivey
Published: Friday, February 10, 2006
The Northside Parking Garage is for the most a part a convenient and functional
parking facility, but at certain times of the day the normally orderly garage descends
into a chaotic traffic jam forcing many garage permit holders (faculty and students)
to wait 15 or 20 minutes to get out of the garage. Fortunately, changes are on the
horizon. Transportation Services (TS) is proposing changes for the garage that would
alleviate some of the congestion and allow for easier garage exit for permit holders.
While these changes are only in the proposal stage, a change in the garage format
is definitely necessary and TS would be wise to implement the new plan as soon as
The current problem in the Northside Parking Garage is that when visitors enter,
they take a ticket from a booth at the entrance and then pay on their way out, but
paying while exiting creates long lines of visitors on the first floor. As a result,
permit holders who park on the second through sixth floors are forced to inch through
these long lines. To reduce the gridlock for both visitors and permit holders, TS
has asked for student and faculty permit holder input on the proposed changes. In
an email to Northside garage customers, Texas A&M Transportation Services Director
Rod Weis outlined the proposal. "Currently, visitors must pull a ticket when entering
the garage and then pay a cashier upon exit. We are proposing that the entrance
and exit gates be removed on the visitor level. A visitor will park and pay for
their parking upon arrival at one of the pay stations conveniently located throughout
the visitor level. This proposed change would provide quicker access to and from
the garage for both visitors and permit holders," Weis.
Removing the gates to the visitor level would be an immensely helpful strategy in
relieving the traffic jams that plague the garage during the day. As it is, permit
holders coming down from the upper floors often have to wait just to get down onto
the first floor visitor level, especially around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. when faculty members
are beginning to leave. They then have to merge into the already sizeable flow of
visitors entering and leaving the garage, backing up both the visitors and the permit
holders trying to get down.
"It'll help people trying to leave at five o'clock, but that's about it. It's such
a minor change, I don't think it'll make much difference," said Daniel Rachal, a
senior civil engineering major and Northside garage patron.
But removing the first floor gates and having visitors pay upon arrival at a booth
would mean that visitors could enter and exit promptly without having to stop and
pay, thus allowing for rapid flow of traffic on the visitor level and the more efficient
entering and exiting of permit holders.
"I think it'll be good in the long term" said Stephen Teng, a junior biology major
and Northside Parking Garage patron
The proposed changes to the Northside Parking Garage are a great way to make an
already troublesome parking issue at A&M a little more bearable. TS should work
to make these improvements as soon as possible.