Typically I use this blog to talk about specifics of Parking and Transportation programs or answer questions about our services. However, after Harvey shook up the start of the semester for everyone, I wanted to pause and give credit to my team for the work they did while we navigated the campus needs during and after the storm.
As Harvey landed on the Texas coast, UH departments put their emergency plans into action. For Parking and Transportation, there were many meetings and preparations made behind the scenes but some of the actions we had to take also had us in direct contact with faculty, staff and students.
In the early days of the storm, residential students relocated their vehicles to parking garages to get them out of the elements. The rains continued and the Brays Bayou began to flood, which affected the students staying in Bayou Oaks. Our partners who operate our campus shuttles, Groome Transportation, had drivers on-call during and after the storm. When the time came for Bayou Oaks residents to relocate, Groome Transportation was there with a shuttle to assist the students.
Those who follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram know these pages are a good way to stay updated on all things related to campus transportation. During and after Harvey these channels became an important way to quickly disperse campus-wide alerts, METRO updates and general parking and transportation information to students, faculty and staff.
While campus was closed, we worked on communications, such as a Transportation Questions After Harvey webpage where we provided information, including what to do if you lost your permit during the storm and changes in permit deadlines.
Team members joined me on campus the Friday before classes resumed to evaluate the equipment in the garages and lots to make sure everything was ready for everyone to return. Fortunately, the roads and infrastructure were in good shape considering the magnitude of the storm, allowing all parking lots and garages to be opened immediately when classes resumed.
Although the semester continued, things were not business as usual. Many people were without permits when they lost their vehicles in the flooding and we asked them to come into our offices for a free permit replacement. Before the end of the first week back, this added up to about 800 permits. Everyone needed a chance to get back on their feet, so we held off on enforcement for missing permits until September 18.
I am proud of the way my team worked together to do what was needed for the campus community during and after the storm, despite many of them dealing with the flooding and effects of Harvey in their own lives. We will continue to support our Coog family as we regroup and rebuild in the aftermath. Texas Strong. Houston Strong. Cougar Strong.