To all of the commuters and faculty at Montclair State University, we have all heard your neverending struggles about the parking lots. We are fully aware of how many of you spend an outrageous amount of time trying to find a spot and then have to wait in the long lines just to leave campus at the end of the day. We all salute you, but there is another side to the issue that is never really spoken about: the resident’s perspective.
I have waited long and worked very hard to achieve my senior status a little early in order to enjoy some of the many perks of being an upperclassman, including being able to park in all of the surface commuter lots with no restrictions, rather than wasting an outrageous amount of time waiting for a shuttle to and from the New Jersey Transit’s parking garage.
When first applying for a parking permit, I made sure to read all of the rules and regulations so that my family’s precious 10-year-old CRV, Wendy, wouldn’t be ticketed or towed. It all seemed very easy to understand, or at least it was easier than the instructions we received last Wednesday when Jack Frost decided to dump another few inches of snow on us.
For someone’s first semester with a car on campus, it was a learning experience.
Just before the storm began, residents were notified to relocate their cars to Car Parc Diem before 4 p.m. and to move them out of the parking garage by 8 a.m. the next morning. These are the typical instructions for any given snowstorm, but the catch was that we were never told when we could start moving them back later that Wednesday evening.
Since I didn’t have class the next morning, I took it upon myself to check out the situation around 8:30 p.m. that night so I could try to sleep in. When I walked outside to the parking lot, I saw that the aisles of the lot were plowed, but the spots were not, which made me a little skeptical about moving my car back outside.
I stood outside in Lot 23N, one of the commuter lots next to Dinallo Heights, for about 20 minutes to see if anyone else was moving their cars back, but it was vacant. The only thing I saw was a few students’ cars that were buried in snow due to their own laziness to follow instructions.
The first part of the instructions to move our cars was very clear and understandable since we all knew about the incoming snowfall, but the rest was too vague regarding when we could move them back. For many of us who would like to move them back at the earliest convenience, it is unfair to have to wait around or wake up at the crack of dawn just to get a good parking spot.
Not only were we waiting, but we were also put in a situation that made some of us feel uncomfortable. Standing alone in the parking lot in the dark is not a comfortable place to be. I was honestly worried about one of the cars I saw circling the parking lots at that hour as if the driver of the vehicle was a vampire searching for fresh blood.
The uneasy feeling I got from standing there alone pressured me to wait until 6 a.m. the next morning, where at least I would see a nice sunrise as I drove back.
Overall, there is nothing wrong with the fact that we need to move our cars in the snow, but Residence Life and University Facilities should provide more specific details so we can move them swiftly and safely to where they need to be.