University feeling winter blues


With snow falling weekly this semester, The University is challenged to keep campus walkways and parking lots clear.

The University’s maintenance department uses every available resource to clear snow from all campus walkways and parking lots.

Director of Facility Operations Mark Carmody said that removing the snow and keeping University grounds clear is the top priority.

“We have a set plan in place for removing snow and everything goes in a certain order,” Carmody said. “We clear the walkways, entrances and sidewalks while clearing the parking lots with snowplows.”
To clear the snow, the department uses a combination of physical and mechanical labor. Ninety custodians, 11 grounds crew and six general mechanics work to keep The University running using various plows, dump trucks and salt spreaders.

The University also uses a contractor to remove the snow when it becomes too much for the maintenance department to remove themselves.

Parking on campus has been an issue for many students, faculty and staff through the year, and it becomes more difficult once snow begins to fall.

Before snow storms begin, Parking Services implements a parking ban. The ban is sent out late in the afternoon and requires those with a valid parking pass to move their vehicles from the surface lots into the parking pavilion. The  pavilion, which restricts parking on the roof during the ban, can hold 400 vehicles. Students can also park in the Ridge Row lot if the parking pavilion becomes full.

Students are then required to remove their cars from the pavilion once the ban is lifted. If school is not delayed or cancelled, students have to remove their cars by 7:30 a.m. the next day.

Assistant Director of Administrative Services Timothy Briggs said the early removal time is in place to allow University operations to continue.

“Our staff has to report, our commuters have to report, the faculty has to report, visitors have to come in, so that’s why we tell them now it’s time. Your parking lot is cleared and you can put your car back into the resident parking lot,” Briggs said.

Briggs said Parking Services is flexible with the 7:30 a.m. time and it gives students the opportunity to move their vehicles before receiving a ticket. The ticket for not removing your vehicle within the time allowance is $30 and can be appealed.

University commuters also said they encounter difficulties when it comes to parking after a snow storm.
Senior Joe Aldcowski, a commuter, said that he gives himself plenty of time to get to campus after it snows because parking can be a hassle.

“I typically give myself 15 to 20 minutes of extra time to get to campus and find a spot. It becomes a habit with commuters,” Aldcowski said. “The snow makes it trickier to find a spot, but it’s just something you have to be patient with.”

Additionally, Carmody said removing the snow from campus parking lots may require cars to park elsewhere for a short period of time, and there should not be a long-term parking problem because of snow piles.
“There may be a total of six parking spots blocked because of the snow removal, but by the next day it should be clear,” Carmody said.

Along with making sure campus is clear, the maintenance department removes snow from off-campus buildings and streets. The University snowplows from Linden Street to Jefferson Street and the sidewalks leading from the Linden Street apartments.

Carmody said that the department is handling the snow the best they can and asks for The University community’s cooperation.

“The weather can be tough on everyone, but everyone just has to be patient. Removing the snow is a day and night effort and the bigger snow storms require a longer effort,” Carmody said.

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