Departing director says university should focus on parking issues
Traffic and parking needs to be a higher priority among Texas Tech University administrators, a departing director of the parking department said Tuesday.
Buddy Knox will leave Tech on Friday after three years as the university's director of parking and transportation. Knox will take a similar but higher-paying job at the University of Denver, a private school.
He stressed that he left with no hard feelings and a fondness for Tech, but felt the university needed to place a greater emphasis on resolving parking issues. "Our traffic and parking (department) knows all the questions and knows all the answers," Knox said. "What we don't always have is the priority."
Parking space has quickly become a premium on the growing campus. Administrators have studied parking garages, increasing the cost of parking permits and encouraging more foot and bicycle traffic on campus, but most parking solutions are still ideas on paper.
Knox said that university goals to add academic buildings to the campus core sometimes clash with parking demands. New projects like a 500-bed residence hall that only added 150 parking spaces, or an early education building that destroyed 40 spaces, exacerbate Tech's parking problems, he said. He hoped that the department would have a stronger voice in a facilities committee overseeing parking issues in the future. My personal opinion, parking is never a primary issue," Knox said. "It's always an afterthought."
The department had made progress, Knox said. Morale was up and angry political cartoons in the student newspaper were down, he said. I've accomplished everything I've wanted to accomplish," Knox said.
Tech Vice President of Operations Max Hinojosa, Knox's supervisor, was surprised that Knox felt parking was not a high enough priority, but felt he had done a good job. Complaints about the parking office had dropped dramatically under Knox's leadership, from eating up half of his time to only two calls so far this year, he said. "You can judge from going from 40 to 50 percent of my time to just two calls that I really had to get involved in is really a testimony to the kind of success he's had," Hinojosa said.
Richard Verrone, Staff Senate president, said Knox was always accessible to the staff. We weren't on the same page all the time, and didn't expect to be, but he was very open," Verrone said. "I think he did a good job."
Eric Crouch, manager of operations for the department, will serve as interim director while the university searches for a replacement, Hinojosa said.