Storm leads to gridlock, blame

By Staff Editorial

You may be wondering what the hell happened on Monday in many of the campus parking lots.

It was nothing short of a cluster-you-know-what. And nothing describes it better than the photos shown here and in the Mix section. Looking for a spot for most people entailed driving down narrow lanes that were actually the parking spots and weaving through randomly parked cars, some in “rows” of three (as opposed to the usual two).

In true Oakland University fashion, when something goes awry in the parking lots, we wondered, “who’s to blame?” Looking at the factors at play — the snow, the cleanup of said snow, the students, and the enforcement of good behavior of said students —  it’s apparent that there is room for improvement from a couple of those players.

We obviously cannot do anything about the snow but plan for it and be patient. John Barth, manager of custodial and grounds, said they were prepared for the storm, with shifts starting at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday. But the storm hit hard and not until after the second shift started and kept coming down until after the 8 a.m. classes started.

It was just “a lot of snow at the wrong time of day,” Barth said. He said they had to do a lot of catch up all day, plowing and laying salt around the vehicles.

We can’t blame mother nature for her timing, or a department for their honest efforts that just didn’t cut it.

Next on the blame list is the OU Police Department. The Post spoke with Lt. Mel Gilroy about the situation. He said that while they try to help students get to class on time, it is not their priority to help them get off campus.

This is where we see some room for improvement. The safest cities aren’t patrolled by police departments that simply react to problems. Surely it is the individual’s responsibility to allow for time to find parking in bad weather, but when we leave parking up to hundreds of hurried college students, the outcome isn’t that much of a mystery.

Maybe in a situation like this, which is bound to happen again sometime, we could have OUPD officers directing traffic. Something similar to what they do at basically any concert venue when massive amounts of vehicles are flowing into the lots.

That brings us to the last on the list:Those who are filling the parking lots in any random order. Of course it is the fault of the people who just don’t know how to park in a row. It’s not that hard, whether the lines are visible or not.

But we shouldn’t be left to our own devices. That’s proven in the fact that we need police departments and other service agencies in the first place.