In a capital where scarcity of land is a serious problem, Beirutis face the daily problem of very limited parking spaces. More and more buildings are being constructed. More and more cars are being bought. The municipality has done little more than talk about building more parking lots.
This issue is not only affecting public streets, but also private institutions.
A case in point is the American University of Beirut, where finding a parking place can be a mission impossible.
Abed Shaar, 22, once spent an hour and a half driving around the AUB campus in Hamra in search of an available parking spot. Not surprisingly, he ended up missing his Engineering class. Ghaith Najjar, a 20-year-old Business major, spends around 45 minutes daily trying to find a parking lot and sometimes ends up paying a 10,000 LL [$6] ticket to avoid missing his class.
Hani Al-Ayoubi, 21, keeps his car at his house in Koura so that his aunt can drive him to university every day.
These students aren’t alone. According to an informal poll conducted at AUB last year, more than 70 percent of the students surveyed spend more than 40 minutes daily searching for a parking spot.
“I tend not to worry about my studies as much as I worry about finding a parking spot before my classes start,” said Shaar, a Master’s student in Engineering Management.
According to the poll, about 77 percent of students who have cars are willing to pay $100 a month to have a guaranteed parking space.
Although AUB is a private university, it has failed to provide a convenient parking area for its more than 7,000 students.
The AUB-owned Corniche parking lot located next to the OSB Olayan School of Busines building is the only available parking area for students, and it only has 200 spaces. Up until this year, students paid 2,500 LL to park there for an entire day. But AUB tripled the daily rate