By Caitlin Raye Contributing Writer
It’s that time of year again, when snow is piling up and UMF facilities is working hard to keep the parking lots clear and free of snow for students and faculty.
Keenan Farwell, Grounds Manager at UMF, leads the facilities crew in charge of snow cleanup and parking lot bans. Facilities tries to clear the parking lots after receiving snowfall of more than 12 inches. They usually plan the parking bans during the school week, but do occasionally have to plan the bans for the weekends.
During a parking ban, students that have not moved vehicles from the closed lots get a parking ticket. Then they get a call, text, and email from Public Safety to have their vehicle moved, and if they do not move, they are then towed at their expense.
“We try to not tow but sometimes it is a necessity,” Farwell said.
Parking bans are done to help access the parking spaces. During the winter, snow builds up from plowing the throughways and makes a large berm in front of the cars, making it difficult to get in and out of the parking spots. Snow removal from lots helps with water build-up and also opens more spots to park.
Ana Drew, a resident hall CA, agreed that parking bans are important. “Cars start to get stuck if they aren’t cleared completely.”
Erika Tardif, a junior at UMF, agreed that parking bans are a good idea, but felt they could be handled differently. “I think they should do one lot at a time verses trying to clear four parking lots at a time, moving all those people into one parking lot,” Tardif said.
“The parking bans are never convenient for everyone, but it is something that is necessary to do to keep our parking lots safe during the winter months,” said Farwell. “We try to give plenty of notice and also plenty of space for the students and faculty to park during the bans.
Kelsey Brann, a sophomore at UMF, echoed Tardif’s frustration: “I think [parking bans] are inconvenient because we have to find somewhere else to put our cars.”
Although not everyone agrees that parking bans are convenient, Farwell said that “normally we only have parking bans on student parking lots because most of the staff and faculty lots are closed to overnight parking, so we have a chance to clear the snow from these lots before the cars park in them.”
Even when students agree that snow removal parking bans are necessary, there is disagreement on how to handle the snow removal. Drew would like to see the parking lot next to Scott Hall cleared more often, whereas Brann would like to see Lot 26 cleared.