Due to this year’s record snowfall, Seton Hall is experiencing a lack of parking availability and potential safety hazards for students and faculty.
On-campus snow cleanup has been problematic over the past month which is causing Engineering Facilities to resort to unusual measures such as closing the top level of the parking deck due to high snow accumulation.
According to John Signorello, associate vice president of Facilities and Operations, the top level of the parking deck is not being used for snow storage.
“Snow is not being pushed to the top of the parking deck,” Signorello said. “Snow from the top is being pushed to the corner of the deck so it can be removed.”
The lack of parking throughout campus has caused students to begin creating their own parking spots, oftentimes in illegal areas.
According to Donald Tauriello, associate director of Public Safety and Security, discretion is used when it is “practical to do so.”
“We never allow vehicles to be parked in fire zones or in any position that could be a hazard to pedestrians or drivers,” Tauriello said. “If the conditions require, we will ticket and relocate vehicles to allow Facilities to clear the lots.”
Tauriello said the University’s parking regulations (section 1.9) states vehicles must be removed from all surface lots during times of anticipated snowfall. While every effort is made to communicate the information to the community, it is also the responsibility of the registered operator of the vehicle to be aware of weather conditions and move the vehicle.
“To improve parking, Facilities is trying to make as many spaces available as possible as we struggle to find places to store the snow and avoid the expense of having it disposed of off campus,” Signorello said. “Facilities and University leadership ultimately decide what to do with the snow.”
Students have been vocal about the negative impact snow accumulation has had on commuting and parking.
“Since this semester started, I dread coming onto campus because it is a hassle to find a (parking) spot, especially since there are huge piles of snow,” junior Matthew Gould said. “Not only that, but the piles are making driving really unsafe, especially the lot on the side of Cabrini Hall. I worry that another driver isn’t going to see me, and they’ll hit me.”
Tauriello said drivers and pedestrians must exercise caution and stop before proceeding into the street or crosswalk when approaching large mounds as their view is limited.
“The community needs to understand the importance of moving their vehicles from the lots. This will allow Facilities Engineering to clear the lots and make them safe for everyone,” Tauriello said. “Public Safety has issued alerts that relate to safety issues.”
According to Signorello, the University has done a better job of clearing snow than the areas that surround campus.
“As you can see from the municipalities we travel through, the University roads, sidewalks and lots are cleared considerately better. Everyone has to deal with the amounts of snow and ice, the frequency of the storms and the piling of the snow,” Signorello said. “University Facilities personnel have done a great job in keeping the campus open despite the inclement weather.”
Facilities will continue to store as much snow as possible on accessible lawn areas in case of future snow storms, according to Signorello.
Signorello also said safety is Facilities Engineering’s number one factor.
Facilities were seen clearing the top level of the parking deck earlier this week.
Kimberly Bolognini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.