(Photo courttesy of sawriters.org.au)

By AMBER AINSWORTH, Editor-in-Chief 

A newspaper hanging on the door of the Michigan Journal office boasts a front page story about how parking issues will be fixed.

That newspaper was printed in the ‘70s.

Fast forward to 2016.

This won’t be a complaint about the visitor spots (or a rant about how the entire row is open while students battle for full spots), but a piece of concern.

The parking lots are hostile and they aren’t getting better. Taking a little extra time to search for a spot isn’t the issue; fighting and unsafe driving are problems.

When students are speeding through the lots and whipping around corners just to get to an open spot, there is a problem. When multiple cars are lined up for one spot, all hoping to race into it, there is a problem. When students trying to leave get boxed in by cars hoping for the spot, there is a problem. When words need to be exchanged over who will get a spot, there is a problem.

There are too many people in the lots, both walking and driving, for such actions to be occurring. And it seems to be happening frequently.

It’s one thing to almost be late to class due to parking, it’s another thing to narrowly avoid crashes, repeatedly.

As a student, I understand the rush and how important finding a spot can be. As a student, I also wonder what actions will be taken, if any, to remedy a potentially dangerous atmosphere.

It’s not an exaggeration to be constantly worried about getting hit at school. And, if accidents haven’t happened yet, I am genuinely surprised.

Emails about how to drive and walk safely in the lots clearly haven’t done the trick, so what’s next?

The parking situation is lousy and probably will never be completely fixed, but is there anything that can be done to make the parking lots safer?

I may never have a time where I come to school in the morning and immediately find a spot. I might always have to drive around the CASL lot before deciding the Field House lot is a better bet, drive around there for a while and finally catch a spot. There will be days I’ll have to drive over to the structure. And I’m sure there will be a few days left that I will be late to class due to parking.

But all of those things I know will happen and I expect to happen—I accept them. I’m not asking for parking to get better in terms of spots, I’m asking for something to be done that will make finding those spots and getting to class safer.

I’ve seen cars stopped for driving too fast on the roads throughout campus, but never in the parking lots. As someone who has been nearly hit while in my car and while on foot more times than I can count, seeing those that are driving erratically in the lots be stopped would be a step toward feeling safer on campus.

I’m no longer just annoyed with wasting time trying to park, I’m worried about my safety and the safety of others.