Traffic blocks student access


Perry Continente, @perrycontinente


As Los Medanos College enters its fall semester students new and old flock to the campus for classes, counseling meetings and clubs, however, many are finding parking to be a difficulty, if not an impossibility.

On Tuesday Aug. 28 parking was so impacted that police aids were dispatched to direct traffic, first onto the overflow parking area above lot B and then off campus when the dirt lot filled.

Professor Jennifer Saito remarked on the difficulty of access and the impacted nature of parking.  “I have been here for 25 years and never seen anything like this,” said Saito who remarked that many of her students had difficulty arriving on time, with some even being unable to attend due to a lack of parking.

Shaylee Sanan, a transfer from Diablo Valley College sat in her parked car Tuesday awaiting a spot to open up, “we’ve been parked for around 5 minutes,” said Sanan. Sanan’s case was far from unique as students either waited for a space, or drove off campus after finding no available spots.

Saito said that during the first week she experienced students “30 minutes late or absent by no fault of their own.”

Saito speculated that construction could be a major factor in parking obstruction mentioning not just blocked spaces but those occupied by the construction personnel themselves.

Lieutenant Chad Wehrmeister, who is in charge of the LMC campus police, explained the response to the parking situation and addressed construction, “we periodically, when the need arises throughout the day, assist with traffic,” said Wehrmeister. Wehrmeister continued commenting about the impact construction is having on parking availability, “part of our community is now people building the new facilities,” said Wehrmeister, “we are all experiencing this together.”

Wehrmeister then suggested that students should arrive to park earlier than they had previously, saying that arriving five or ten minutes early will often not be enough time in the earlier, more chaotic weeks of the semester.  He suggested carpooling, arriving early and, in the worst-case scenario, communicating to the professor about absences due to parking.

“Communicate with your professors, they will understand if you reach out to them,” he said.

Wehrmeister continued saying that the traffic should clear up in the coming weeks as students often attend counseling meetings and other activities in the first few weeks, and because students often drop some classes lessening the number of people on campus.

LMC President Bob Kratochvil addressed the impacted nature of the campus and echoed Wehrmeister’s sentiments about reduced traffic congestion in the coming weeks, “after the second week it will calm down,” said Kratochvil.

He then compared the traffic to the levels experienced at graduation and explained that police aids are periodically dispatched to direct foot traffic in the front entrance.

As of press time traffic is still impacted, but not nearly at the level of the previous week, the dirt lot is still being utilized throughout much of the day, however students are not being turned away.