September 23, 2020

BY BETH CROUSE

Conestoga College may seem like a friendly, cosy and comfortable place for most students, but there is a war raging outside its walls. Parking lots have been causing otherwise good drivers to become reckless.

The problem originates with parking permits. Although Conestoga College has thousands of students flowing through its doors on any given day, the number of parking spots is fixed. The very nature of having a limited number of parking spots available causes the mildest mannered driver to become vicious, almost stalker-like, when hunting for a space. Students are forced to circle full parking lots for a half hour or longer, desperately seeking a free spot, while at the same time checking the clock hoping that they will only be slightly late for class. If a spot does open up, multiple vehicles race toward each other to see who will be the lucky one.

The hunt for parking spots has become such a challenge that students are disregarding simple rules of the road in order to obtain that great spot close to the building. I have witnessed on more than one occasion a motorist narrowly missing an unsuspecting student who assumed that because the vehicle was slowing down, the driver wouldn’t accelerate despite a vacant parking spot coming into view. Students who are crossing in the crosswalks have the right of way, but now it’s the pedestrians who must be vigilant to ensure they aren’t flattened by a driver who is more concerned about a piece of pavement than a human life.

Something needs to change before it’s too late. Drivers at Conestoga College need to pay more attention to their surroundings when entering a busy school area.

People walking in the crosswalk shouldn’t have to jump back to avoid being hit. Drivers should follow the posted speed limits and allow enough time to commute, and, subsequently, find parking, without running someone over. The excuse, “I was going to be late for class” doesn’t excuse poor driving.

With winter approaching, treacherous road conditions will only amplify this war between students and vehicles. Taking an extra few minutes before your morning commute to properly clean your vehicle (whether that means defogging your windows or brushing away the snow) is a must. But, more importantly, taking the time to set your schedule accordingly is essential if you are to avoid being charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Pedestrians shouldn’t feel the need to take to social media in order to shame poor driving, the responsibility falls on drivers to be mindful of their surroundings.

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