Issue: Making the southeast corner of The Union lot an exit-only road has created driver annoyance and safety concerns.
Changes to the parking system were made to improve safety, but at least one change has created a potential hazard.
Since school started, the southeast corner of the east Union lot has been turned into an exit-only road. This forces drivers to go all the way around to the other side or to drive half way around the lot and enter through visitor parking. Either way, those drivers must travel much farther to enter.
Jen Lichty, operations manager for The Union, said the Do Not Enter signs will help maintain the east lot for visitors. When there are events at The Union, part or even all of that lot will be blocked off for visitor parking. Shutting down one of the entrances makes that lot more easily controlled.
While those intentions are good, the change is annoying and time-consuming for drivers who must stop and go every hundred feet as they wait for pedestrians to cross. It also has caused cars and walkers to cross paths more frequently. The roads near The Union are some of the most traveled on campus, and adding vehicles to the mix may not be the safest option. Even the most law-abiding drivers could hit a pedestrian if the sun was in their eyes or they just didn’t see the person.
And unfortunately, not every driver on this campus is law-abiding. This means that some drivers have turned The Union loop into a racetrack to get that last remaining parking spot.
Granted, those drivers must be part of the solution, as well. A sign is posted near the Do Not Enter signs marking the loop 15 mph. Drivers need to obey those laws.
But there must also be a solution that makes it easier to close off The Union lot for visitor parking and doesn’t present the problems of people driving all the way around the lot. What about making the north entrance exit-only? That way, there is one less entrance to guard during visitor events, and drivers can get into The Union lot quickly by entering from the south. That may not be the best option, either, but it is one worth exploring.
Lichty said The Union staff is committed to ensuring the safety of students and will continue to look at this issue. As students, we hope all options are weighed because the current situation is less than ideal.
Stance: The southeast corner of The Union lot should return to a two-way road or become entrance-only. The change is not only time-consuming and annoying for drivers, it has also created a racetrack effect that endangers students’ safety.