As if finding a parking spot at UAA wasn’t hard enough, throw in a great amount of snow to make parking even more difficult. January’s rapid snowfall plus the spring semester starting means chaos in the UAA parking lots. The giant snow piles throughout UAA’s parking lots are hard to miss, especially when they are taking up rows of parking. Not only are parking spaces being filled with snow, but also making it hard to see around corners, leaving many unable to see what cars are coming. These snow piles have left students and faculty frustrated and extremely cautious of their surroundings.
Students are aware that they need to leave early to find a decent parking spot and to make it to school on time. With the snow and parking conditions, students have been leaving earlier while still being late for class. Allison Ackles, nursing major and dancing minor, explains her daily struggles finding a parking spot with the snow.
“Most mornings, I leave my apartment 25 to 30 minutes early so that I can have plenty of time to get to class, I live a quarter mile from campus, I barely ever make it on time to class because I typically spend 10 to 20 minutes trying to find parking,” Ackles said. “And half the damn snow they’ve plowed ‘out of the way’ makes the parking narrow, hard to navigate and hazardous to my driving.”
Money from permits sales and citations are used to pay for the snowplow maintenance to clear parking lots, sidewalks and bike paths on campus. Due to the excessive amount of snow, there is only so much space dedicated for snow to be plowed in those areas.
“Unfortunately, Facilities has limited locations for where they can push the snow when plowing the parking lots,” Brian Blevins, enforcement supervisor for Parking Services, said. “The limitation causes the loss of parking spaces, as well as visibility issues entering and exiting the parking lots.”
Not only is it difficult to see around the snowbanks, but students are unable to park in snow covered spots, and also unable to tell handicap parking spaces apart.
“I have parked in spots that were not parking spots or were handicap on accident due to snow covering it,” Jonathan Weston, business management major said.
When parking, it always seems like there are never enough spaces. With the snow taking up spots and several rows, it seems like the number of spots has shrunk.
“The snow piles do take away a few parking spaces on campus, mostly in South lot,” Blevins said. “When the snow piles up, we may lose approximately one percent of available parking spaces on campus, the loss is minimal.”
When it feels like there is no hope in finding a parking space, there are options available.
“There are over 5,000 parking spaces on campus. While the snow may impact a few spaces across campus, there is always available parking in the new Engineering garage, Central garage, East garage, East lot and the Alaska Airlines Center main parking lot. There is never a time when every parking space on campus is full.” Blevins said.
Although it is inconvenient to park halfway across campus for a parking spot and having to trek through the slushy snow, making it to class is important. If following people to their car for a spot isn’t working out for you, maybe try parking further out and enjoying Alaska’s chaotic weather. Remember to be cautious when driving on campus for pedestrians and other cars that could be around you, especially when entering and exiting parking lots.