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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Traffic Tales at UMB

After an officer was spotted lingering in the shadows of the trees behind the Wheatley Building and emerging only when a car was spotted driving the wrong way or speeding, there is no doubt that these are the most common reasons for pulling someone over at UMB.

“I don’t know what that cop was doing,” comments Chief of UMB Police Phil O’Donnell. “Most likely he had a radar detector,” he adds.

Driving the wrong way is not uncommon because the parking garage is constantly under construction. The parking situation on campus is an underlying issue of the problems.

As a UMB student, endlessly searching for a parking space in the morning can be a frustrating way to start the day. The typical orange construction cones can be seen just about everywhere, having been planted in every crevice of the parking garage.

One UMB student, Skye, comments, “Last semester, I had to arrive to school three hours before my classes began just to find a space.

“It’s nasty down there. You have to drive the wrong way just to find a space.”

The reason for the constant construction is the manner in which the garage was originally constructed. In describing cahnges to the garage over the years, O’Donnell explains how originally there wasn’t an exit behind Wheatley, which now opens onto the south lot. The north lot was later opened behind the new campus center.

Ideally, according to O’Donnell, the parking garage should be fixed within the next couple of years. “Money has always been an issue and maintenance usually suffers,” he says. “There is a problem with the structure of the garage.”

Although not every student drives to campus, efficient parking is a necessity for a commuter school. The parking garage has a total of 2,300 spaces for the approximately 12,000 students on campus. More spaces should be available when an entirely new parking garage is built within the next couple years.

As far as traffic goes, the peak hours are between 8am and 12:00 noon. “The chances of finding a space between 9am and 11:30am are limited,” comments O’Donnell. Typically, the students who cannot find a space are forced to park at the JFK Library or the McCormack School on Mt. Vernon Street.

Skye continues, “If I am forced to park at the McCormack School, I usually leave a note on my car saying ‘Please don’t touch my car, parking at UMass was full.'” As an art student, Skye finds lugging all of her supplies around with her and then journeying to the 8th floor of the Healey Library a major inconvenience. “It would be nice to park next to one of the elevators, which also suck.”

Skye goes on to say, “parking at JFK is pretty cool because sometimes you get to park for free. Sometimes at the McCormack school you have to pay five dollars up front, which some students may not have.” Fellow student Glen says, “Yeah, parking here is pretty frustrating. If I want a space, I have to arrive early.”

Accidents are also common in the parking garage, mostly minor fender benders according to O’Donnell. Car theft has not been reported in about three years, but a total of 30 accidents have ocurred. Most recently, a woman driving down Morrissey Blvd. experienced whiplash after her car was rear-ended.

UMB also has its classic cases of traffic incidents. O’Donnell recalls an amusing tale from many years ago when a car was spotted driving in circles around the sculpture on the front lawn of the campus. When the driver was asked why he was driving on the lawn, the driver responded by saying that he could not find an exit out of the campus. “He had a couple of cocktails,” says O’Donnell.

The traffic rules at UMB are for the common good. “The reason to enforce traffic rules is to keep everyone safe,” comments O’Donnell. As far as the parking garage, O’Donnell comments, “We wish we had more spaces to fill.”