Luther College Chips

Mishandling of snow removal in dorm parking lots contentious

Emily Crowe, Editor-in-Chief

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I received my first parking ticket last week. And, because I was mad that I received a $25 ticket from Luther Security for parking in a snow-removal zone on a dry, 50-degree day, I started paying attention to other cars who parked in these areas. While it is frustrating that six parking spaces in the parking lot between Olson and Larsen, a parking lot that is already not large enough for all the Olson and Larsen residents who wish to park there, are devoted to piles of snow even when there is no snow, this is not the big problem  nor is it really the point of why I felt the need to write this article in the first place. No, the problem that I think needs to be addressed is the fact that during the last snowfall, the parking spaces reserved for snow were suspiciously empty. The single handicap parking space in the entire lot, though, had a giant mound of snow blocking it.

I understand that the snow needs to go somewhere, and I do appreciate that the parking lots are cleared for us so quickly and efficiently that I almost don’t realize it happens. However, it is frustrating that there are six spaces in the parking lot set aside so that giant piles of snow can be left to melt and, rather than use them, the handicap space is used. Then students — as I have noticed many other cars with the unfortunate yellow slip since my own ticket was issued — were ticketed for parking in a space that is reserved, apparently, for no reason.

Olson is, admittedly, not a handicap-accessible dorm. There is no elevator and there are stairs leading to two of the dorm’s four doors. However, were someone who had the need and right to park in a handicap parking space to try to find parking in our cramped parking lot, only to find that the parking spot designated for their use was covered in snow, their next nearest option would be very far away from the entrance.

This is not only morally wrong; it is illegal. And, if it happened to snow while myself or someone else were parked in the snow-removal zone, I wouild hope there would be a better way of handling it than simply shoveling it into the handicap space. According to adant.com, the Americans with Disabilities Act website with information regarding ADA guidelines, a parking lot the size of the one between Olson and Larsen, 51-75 spaces, should have three handicap-accessible parking spaces. As a private liberal arts college, there may be different guidelines that I am unaware of, but I imagine that no matter the guidelines, they would never allow a handicap parking space to be used for snow, especially when there are other spaces available.

I am certain that I only noticed this indiscretion because I was mad that I received a parking ticket that I felt was unnecessary and undeserved. But because of my own trivial anger, I hope some good can come about. Luther Facilities, please refrain from plowing snow into the handicap parking in the future. Luther Security, please consider making the snow-removal parking spaces open for use unless there is actual snow falling or on the ground. And students, don’t park in snow removal zones unless you feel like throwing $25 bucks away. To educate yourself on the rest of the Luther specific rules that are apparently finable — for instance, it is $100 if you park in a handicap space or “Inside building” and $15 for occupying two spaces — visit www.luther.edu in the student handbook under the Vehicle Regulation Manual section.

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