What did we learn the first week back to school? We learned that driving around UAA is downright infuriating and can turn even the gentlest of souls into drivers out of Mario Kart. It has become common for drivers to use speed bursts and a cutthroat mentality to get to a parking spot first or get to class first.
We might as well equip all students who buy parking permits here at UAA a standard trio of red shells and green shells to play offense and defense when they deem it necessary. It’s the least they can give us for the amount of money we put in the schools pocket when purchasing a permit.
Speaking of those permits, what’s the point of them if a student can’t find a parking spot anyways? Also, how many got the memo about needing a parking permit the first week of school by finding the ticket on their windshield during the first week? For those who didn’t know, parking permits were usually not absolutely required until the second week of school.
The equation for parking chaos was in full effect this past week.
Start with a higher number of students back on campus who are driving (some of whom are still confused as to where their classes are), add in the fact that UAA never has seemed to have the parking space required for the amount of commuters that pour in each day, now a dash of construction (a section of about 50 parking spaces taken up over by Rasmusson Hall and the Wells Fargo Sports Complex), and finally a pinch of mounting frustrations and desperation from students who are not going to get their classes on time and look to take more risks in getting the coveted spot, which may or may not be on the other side of campus now.
The parking lots are not the only places of building tensions. The roads in and around UAA have become more and more crippled due to the volume of traffic and pedestrian use.
This past week, a bicyclist was hit while crossing UAA Drive. While the accident may have not been due to reckless driving, it is still an accident that unfortunately may have been coming for some time. Good news was that the bicyclist suffered only minor injuries but this kind of thing can become more common due to all those who are even slightly distracted when moving about campus.
So how do we fix all of this around UAA and begin to stop the bleeding of this daily problem? It is a problem that both sides contribute to and that both sides will need to be willing to adjust to in order to settle the tensions and risks of driving around campus.
To the drivers: try and get here earlier to give yourself ample time. Think about parking on one side of campus and getting on foot. Slow it down in the parking lots and surrounding streets around campus. If you’re late your late but don’t risk yours and your cars safety as well as your fellow students and their rides around campus.
If you insist on being vultures in the main parking lots, try and relax and know that others are going through the same problem of watching others get parking spaces while you yell explicative in your car and continue to circle.
Lastly, put away the cell phones. Honestly, was your math class that exciting or dull that you have to share it with the world by a call, text message, Facebook post while driving between classes? Really? Just put it down and focus on the road and save that for later if you insist.
To the university: construction waiting until the school year to commence is pretty rough whether it was foreseen or a sudden development. Make every effort to avoid taking spots away to those who pay considerable money to park here for the school year.
To solve pedestrian safety, lets see some crosswalk lights and/or crosswalk policemen. Instead of having one or two students hold up traffic by crossing, have it go in 30 second spells where drivers get to go through and let a crowd of pedestrians build up. Then, give the pedestrians their 15-30 seconds to get across while traffic waits. There will no longer be any question as to has the right away and will let the traffic flow better.
Perhaps some of these ideas will see the parking lots and streets at UAA become a little less hectic. As much as we may think, Mario Kart is best played on the TV screen and not in real life.