There’s snow place like UB for winter parking

Parking issues on campus will only get worse as winter approaches

The first inklings of snow have fallen, warning students of the impending winter that’s rapidly approaching. Buffalo is known for its insane snowfall – last year, we were hit with seven feet of snow right around Thanksgiving.

Parking is an issue at UB no matter what time of year it is. Most of the school’s land, other than buildings, is parking lots. No matter how many spots there are, there never seem to be enough for the amount of students who drive to campus. Worse, the parking lots go so far back, students have to account for the amount of time it takes to walk to the nearest building.

There is closer parking that is often misused. UB offers carpool parking and although the number varies by lots, yet less than half seem to be full at any given time.

The meter parking that can be found near Clemens Hall and Alumni Arena is another waste of valuable space – there is no reason to charge students to park a safe proximity to the school and these spaces are often skipped over by those who don’t have loose change. The Fronczak lot is also paid parking – students can pay $4 to park for the day or $90 for the semester. Similar to the meter parking, it seems unreasonable to ask students to pay a fee for a decent parking spot.

In theory, UB could develop a parking garage, but that project would be such a large investment in time and money while simultaneously creating a new battleground for parking wars that’s more dangerous since it’s a more enclosed space.

Once the snow begins to fall, an entire new set of problems emerges. The parking wars that occur daily in lots all over campus become more dangerous as ice and layers of snow coat the roads. Students can try to opt out of driving but this means that they’re reliant upon the Stampede, which runs slower in the snow both around North Campus and from North to South Campus.

UB tends to remain open no matter how much it snows. The university is notorious for not closing – during Snowvember last year, UB closed for two days after receiving negative media attention for holding classes while students were stranded in their homes or on the Thruway.

This wouldn’t be an issue if transportation wasn’t so difficult. The Stampede will close or be delayed or run less often, but UB still expects students to come to class.

If a giant bus cannot make it through the snow, how does UB expect small cars to get to campus?

If half of the parking spots are covered by snow, how can UB expect students to safely park and drive to class?

If most professors are canceling their classes anyway, why bother to keep the school open?

It’s unsafe for students to attempt to drive or walk in those conditions. UB needs to put its reputation aside and prioritize the safety of students over the amount of days it’s open – it’s better to cancel class than to be held responsible for a student getting hurt.

Driving around campus isn’t just limited to the parking lots near the academic buildings. There are often more free parking spaces in on-campus housing parking lots, but snow isn’t always plowed in a timely fashion. This leaves students to do the shoveling themselves, which will either take time in the morning before class or lead them to abandon their cars and use alternate methods of transportation.

If the Stampede cannot operate, UB shouldn’t be open. Students can’t walk through the storms and cars get stuck or stranded en route – and those who do make it can’t find a place to park.

The university can fix this problem if it wants to stay open, so long as it hires people to be constantly plowing the snow in the parking lots and on the sidewalks. No student should be penalized for missing a class they physically could not get to.

If not, there’s always the option to close UB more often and to alleviate the worry students have about driving in poor conditions.

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