“UT, City Block Parking along Railroad Tracks”

The City of Tampa, in conjunction with CSX Railways, has cordoned off the grassy area along the railroad track near the Cass Street entrance.

It is illegal to park in that area, and individuals parking there were threatened with towing and tickets.

Parking in the roadway along Cass Street is also prohibited. UT students often park there to attend classes in the Cass Building or for sporting events. Tampa Prep students often park there as well.

Public Information says that eventually there will be permanent bollards and landscaping installed, in addition to no parking and towing signage.

‘It’s terrible that people park there,’ Kevin Howell, Assistant Director of Security said before the parking was closed, calling the issue ‘dangerous.’

Howell said that the Jacksonville-based transportation company, CSX Transportation Corporation, owns the tracks and some of the area around it, but the grass part is owned by the city.

Howell says if a car is in the way, CSX has to stop the train and tow the car which could result in up to a two hour delay. Not to mention that many of the substances running on the trains to and from the Port of Tampa carry liquid sulfur, ammonium and chlorine which are all hazardous.

According to Howell, the city does not consider parking on the grass near the tracks illegal, because it isn’t parking on the sidewalk, obstructing view of the right of way and are 30 ft. away from the stop sign.

At any given time during the day cars line the tracks from N. Boulevard all the way to the river. Students go in and out, ignoring the ‘No Trespassing’ signs and danger warnings of being near the railroad tracks.

Student Reaction

In October, Students knew that UT cannot give them tickets for parking in the area.

‘I park here because I know it is not school property,’ said Amanda Waldron, a senior. ‘The school insists on taking away commuter parking.’

Although, Waldron knew the potential risk of getting her vehicle towed.
‘I only knew of someone being towed because they parked close to the tracks,’ she said.

Since it is close to classrooms in Cass, students use the area out of convenience.

‘It’s the easiest way to get to class,’ said UT junior Michael Cavett in October. ‘I have three classes within three or four minutes from here.’

T.J. Midura feels the same way.

‘It’s the easiest access to my classes and usually all the lots and garages are full,’ Midura said. ‘What’s more important, a church or convenience for students?’

Some students have never received a ticket or any warning from parking near the tracks.

‘[I] never had any problems,’ said UT student, Nizar Alamadr. Alamdr said he parks near the tracks because he doesn’t have a UT parking permit.


One student claimed she has permission to park in the area.

‘Someone from the athletics department told me that athletes could park here,’ said UT junior, Shannon Kelly. ‘Honestly, I didn’t think the tracks ran.’

The athletics department denies giving anybody permission to park in the area saying that they have been, ‘fairly aggressive about telling people not to park there.’

An e-mail response to The Minaret from Larry Marfise, UT’s Athletic Director stated, ‘We have told all of our athletes, as well as coaches and staff that they CAN NOT park along the CSX tracks. We have gone as far as making announcements at games last spring, and to rental groups this fall that they will get towed and ticketed if they park there.’

After three media contact requests made by The Minaret in October, CSX has not replied as of press time.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top