BY MARK PROFACA
As the fall semester gets underway, students find themselves preparing to maintain the balance between their classes and commitments to their social lives and jobs. This seems to be the routine for a community college student but their schedules have an additional time-consuming priority that affects them both arriving and departing from the County College of Morris.
For students who arrive at CCM Monday through Friday for a class after 9 a.m., the challenge is finding a parking spot on campus. Throughout the day, students can be found driving relentlessly around CCM’s parking lots as if they were sharks circling their prey in the water. This ritual is attributed to two major factors; one being the preference of a parking lot due to its proximity to a student’s class, while the other issue lies within the traffic build-up that is mixed between students trying to enter the campus and students looking to leave.
Regardless of the reason, it is a problem for students on campus like Mya Johnson, a criminal justice major.
“If you don’t come at a certain time, odds are the early birds got all of the good spots,” Johnson said. “And if you’re late, chances are you’re stuck with nothing.”
Johnson had explained that her parking lot of preference is lot seven, which is closer to the student center, physical education facilities, and campus buildings where all of her classes are held. In addition to her regular commute, it can take anywhere from ten to fifteen more minutes to find a favorable spot to park.
Of course any college campus, especially a community college, will host an array of difficulties for its inhabitants as far as a traffic jams are concerned. For some, the issue has stretched beyond the pavement and into the classrooms.
“I’ve been late to classes and exams because of poor parking availability,” said Jason Kohut, a business major. “I spend on average 5-30 minutes just looking for a spot.”
Kohut explained that most of his classes are centered between 11am and 2pm starting times, which is the equivalent to “rush hour” at CCM. could be a large contributing-factor to what makes parking harder than it has to be.
“I think that the students who have to cross the street to the lower lots is a big part of the problem,” he said. “It slows down cars coming and leaving making parking lots harder to get into.”
A proposed solution to beat the rush hour for the future would be to reverse student and faculty parking lots in certain areas because the faculty usually stays on campus for a larger duration of a day whereas students come and go frequently. Another alternative would be building elevated crosswalks, so students can reach the lower parking lots without interrupting the flow of traffic when entering and exiting.
This is nothing new to the faculty and students of CCM, the campus has already started developing a new entrance and exit which will divert some of the traffic build-up directly onto route 10, instead of causing extended waits on Dover-Chester and Centergrove roads.
“I think the opening is long overdue,” said North Peterson, an English professor at CCM. “I’m looking forward to taking it.”
Regardless of what the solution is, until students see a change in motion, everyone will still be searching for parking spaces.