Campus parking a safety hazard

Limited parking spots and overcrowded lots have forced students to park illegally. This can be very dangerous. Michael McFarland/The Buzz.
Limited parking spots and overcrowded lots have forced students to park illegally. This can be very dangerous. Michael McFarland/The Buzz.

I never thought Ambrose would ignite within me a passion for walking. But it has. Each and every Tuesday and Thursday, I park my aged ’96 Honda Accord off of Gaines Street, allowing me to enjoy a brisk powerwalk as I hurriedly shuffle my way towards McMullen Hall. I’ve tried several times to park in an official Ambrose parking lot, something I would thoroughly enjoy seeing as I invested 60 dollars in a rose pink sticker that has done me little good. Yet I have often been greeted with sheer and overwhelming disappointment.

In all honesty, some days I don’t even try. The situation isn’t far better on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t successfully parked where my overlord of a sticker allows me to. But on those three wonderful, miraculous occasions, I have also had to deal with this creeping anxiety as I circle the parking lot, hunting for that one lone spot I could call my own.

It’s scary. Cars line every open space, creating tight aisles that remind me of the DVD section at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. I keep waiting for a larger, behemoth-sized vehicle to come barreling around the corner, crushing me and my small, pathetic car. This fear isn’t irrational. The over-packing of the parking lots has already resulted in one accident this year, a fact that freshman Austin Bird can confirm.

“It adds a lot of pressure when you’re running late for a class and you cannot find a parking spot,” Bird said. “It makes it more intense.”

It was almost 11 a.m. on the first day of class. Bird was in a rush, a fact he will not deny. Having just had a spinal tap, he was already dreading the idea of going to class. Being ever-so scholastic, Bird hopped into his car, arriving at Ambrose to discover an obscenely full parking lot. It wasn’t as if he was surprised—no, a part of him had anticipated this issue. But what came next wasn’t something he had planned on.

Circling the parking lot just across from Galvin Hall, Bird took his time as he went from one aisle to another, keeping his eyes open and alert as he tried his best to see around the tight corners the parked cars had created. Just as he was about to pull into the small alley beyond the rows of bushes, he noticed a car heading south and right at him, forcing Bird to swerve into a parked car in order to avoid direct collision.

It was senior Fabiola Orozco driving the other car. Although her vehicle remained untouched, she felt inclined to stay anyway.

“I felt so bad. The look of pure fear was across his face,” Orozco said. “It was all very surreal.”

Because of the recent medical procedure Bird had only hours before, an ambulance was called, Orozco staying all the while. Both Bird and Orozco agree that the crowded situation of the parking lot that day contributed to the accident.

“I completely admit that this accident was my fault,” Bird said. “But, had they had adequate parking at Ambrose, this would not have happened. Having those lots at full capacity is a problem.”

Having experienced the parking lots for nearly four years now, Orozco had a feeling something like this would happen eventually.

“From so many times in the past semesters that I’ve been so close to hitting people, I knew that this was bound to happen,” Orozco said. “Everyone is so eager to get to class on time that they just go really fast.”

This has been a longstanding issue and one that, unfortunately, is bound to remain the same unless new parking facilities are constructed. I often notice that zone 1 parking lots are bare to the bone. Perhaps this is an issue where students who live on campus are choosing to purchase zone 2 parking passes instead, trying to save money. But what they likely do not realize is that they are taking parking from us, the commuters.

Being forever-optimistic, just last week I drove through that same parking lot where Bird and Orozco experienced that accident, hoping I would find a spot. Needless to say, I did not.

The fact that we are scared is a problem. We are left blind, turning corners on mere faith. It is enough to make me recede—enough to send me back to Gaines Street, along my favorite curb which I now call home. But what can be done? This same editorial has been written again and again. Parking has been expanded to fit the needs of a growing student population. Yet it’s not enough.

We are left fearful and displaced, invested in a rose pink parking sticker that means absolutely nothing.

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