Moody Center construction causes disruptions for C parking permit holders

Nataleah Small and Sera Simpson

Parking lot closures from construction on the new Moody Center multipurpose arena have led students with Class C parking permits to park further from campus on the other side of Interstate 35.

Parking Lot 70 and parts of Lot 80, located south of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Robert Dedman Drive, have been closed since December 2019. According to the Parking and Transportation Services website, these lots were two of six lots on the west side of I-35 where students with C parking permits could park, and there are now 17 designated lots for these permit holders.

Construction on the Moody Center is expected to be complete early 2022, PTS director Bobby Stone said in an email. Although Lot 70 will remain closed indefinitely, he said portions of Lot 80 will reopen after the construction project is completed.

“We will continue to update the campus community about this project and other projects that impact parking or traffic via email, website and PTS social media,” Stone said.

PTS sold about 2,200 C parking permits to students last year, Stone said. According to the PTS website, C parking permits give students access to C lots and Longhorn Lots on the east side of campus.

There are many spaces available for students to park in the Longhorn Lots on the east side of I-35, Stone said. 

Ricardo Ramirez, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student, who has been a C-permit holder for a long time, said it is very difficult to find parking especially after the lots have closed. 

“If I get here in the morning, I have no problem because I’m usually here before 6 a.m., but if I were to come at 11, it would be impossible to find parking,” Ramirez said. 

Sports management sophomore Sydney Johnson said many students do not want to upgrade to a different pass because it is too expensive.

On campus, almost 29% of the available parking spaces are set aside for students in surface lots, Stone said. By comparison, he said there are fewer than 16,000 parking spaces campuswide to accommodate the 70,000 individuals who access campus on a daily basis.

Ramirez said he walks approximately 15 minutes across campus from where he parks.

“(UT) should make available more space because right now, this is really hard,” Ramirez said. “Parking is terrible.” 

A shuttle runs from the east campus lots to the main campus from Sunday through Friday, Stone said.

“All parking on campus is on a first-come basis, and no one is guaranteed a parking space,” Stone said.

To help reduce traffic and modify for campus parking, Stone said PTS encourages students to use alternative transportation, such as riding the shuttle or using a scooter to commute to campus.

However, Johnson said the alternate modes aren’t very reliable.

“The buses are pretty inconsistent,” Johnson said. “I used to bike here, but once my bike got stolen, I decided to buy (a parking permit).”

If students no longer want their parking permit, Stone said they can either return or exchange it with PTS.

“If a C-permit holder wishes to return their permit, they may return it any time for a prorated refund or exchange it for an available garage S-permit,” Stone said.