On Wednesday Nov. 15, the Student Government Association (SGA) of Montclair State University held a town hall meeting to address traffic concerns. The SGA hosts a town hall meeting once every month in order to openly discuss issues that organizations are facing and how these issues can be resolved.
The SGA provided students the opportunity to speak directly with faculty members Shawn Connolly and Scott Nayda Sr. Shawn Connolly, vice president for University Facilities, works to ensure that all facilities run smoothly with no malfunctions. Nayda Sr., director of Parking Services, oversees the operation of parking locations on the Montclair State campus including Red Hawk Deck and CarParc Diem.
One student highlighted how there is only a few places for people to sit when waiting for NJTransit buses.
While the student acknowledged that Montclair State is not responsible for the schedule of these buses, they brought it to the attention of those in attendance that these seats have no protection against weather conditions, meaning that students are forced to brave the cold or harsh rain. Connolly responded to this question by taking notes as to how this issue can be resolved. He noted that he has seen a large amount of people waiting for the buses, but acknowledged that he had never noticed the scarcity of seats and protection from the weather.
Students also had the opportunity to bring up concerns about facilities. One student mentioned how the number of laundry units, including washers and dryers, is not proportional to the amount of students living in certain buildings. Connolly responded that administration would look into adding more units if there is enough space to do so.
In terms of elevators, students also spoke up about malfunctions of elevators and how they will be addressed. Connolly responded that administration attends to elevator malfunctions based on how many are located in one building due to accessibility needs.
“The way we prioritize it, if there’s one elevator in a building and that elevator goes out, that’s an ADA issue we consider it an emergency,” Connolly said. “We try and get a technician in as soon as we can regardless of what time it is. If there’s two elevators in a building and one goes out it’s urgent but it’s not an emergency. When the second elevator went out in Bohn [Hall] the other day, that was when I got the phone call.”
He continued and said that some of the elevator malfunctions are caused by people jumping up and down in the elevators. Other malfunctions can be caused by prolonging the time during which the elevator door is opened. He also cited that there is a full-time employee whose job is to upkeep elevators and ensure they continue to run.
On the topic of accessibility door openers, Connolly acknowledged the persistence of malfunctions around campus and emphasized the need to report such malfunctions. During instances where students experience a malfunction, they should email facilities or submit a work order to have the door openers checked out.
Nayda Sr. also commented on how machines for parking locations will be updated as soon as possible in order to streamline the entering and exiting of vehicles on campus. Instead of people needing to pay at the gate and occasionally needing a staff member to manually permit them into the parking location, new technology will be considered that can read license plates.
Nayda Sr. also included that parking services are looking into using payment software such as Apple Pay as a method of paying for parking on campus. In addition to this, Nayda also took the opportunity to promote a new parking app called Parking Logix Parker Mobile, available on Android and Apple devices. This allows faculty and students to check the real-time availability of parking spots among other features.
In terms of parking, Connolly emphasized that the goal of parking services is not to take money from students and that there are multiple opportunities to get tickets forgiven.
“Our goal is not to take your money,” Connolly said. “Our goal is to educate you to park in the right places. I try [and] forgive every ticket we possibly can. Don’t ignore it, but there’ll be a message that comes with that ticket.”
Highlighting on-campus traffic, Connolly briefly mentioned that there are administrative discussions about changing the ways in which people can drive into campus. One of these methods includes introducing a drop off lane for people to get dropped off instead of forcing others to stop and create traffic.
Regina Rasmusson, a senior earth and environmental science major, shares that she has to park further away from campus to avoid traffic and trouble finding a parking spot.
“Well I park far away just because it is kind of a pain, like CarParc [Diem] can be kind of a pain,” Rasmusson said. “It’s just kind of a hassle and I don’t really feel like dealing with it. The traffic has definitely gotten worse, I’ve noticed since being on campus as a freshman versus now.”
Jaylinn Polonia, a freshman undecided major, addressed the situation of traffic building up on campus some days throughout the week.
“Just like the traffic on some days where it’s like really crazy and I think I’m going to get late to class,” Polonia said.
Mar Khabrane, a senior psychology major, shares that traffic and parking has changed due to the increase in students.
“I think it’s just the growing student body and how exponentially it’s grown over the past and this semester because of the merger that happened with [Bloomfield College],” Khabrane said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a problem, I think we just kind of like need to like find another solution for the parking situation.”
Khabrane commented on the issue of elevators breaking down in several buildings across campus, including residence halls.
“That should be fixed because a lot of people can’t get to their rooms and they might not be able to climb stairs, they might not be as able-bodied as I am and I think that’s also unfair.”