Parking problems pose trouble for students

By Diamond Gregg

Layout Editor

Photo by Brigitte Zumaya | Construction workers have been hard at work replacing the asphalt parking lot with more durable and costeffective concrete since summer.
Photo by Brigitte Zumaya | Construction workers have been hard at work replacing the asphalt parking lot with more durable and costeffective
concrete since summer.


It’s 10:30 a.m. and students are beginning to leave Brookhaven College campus. Most will return for their next class after a quick lunch. Tensions run high as students weave through traffic cones and dodge the police officers directing traffic.

With the heavy flow of traffic that typically accompanies a new semester at Brookhaven, the closing of several parking lots around campus has caused additional chaos. Some students have been parking on the grassy fields near Valley View Lane, a five-minute walk from campus. Despite the frustration, however, the project is to Brookhaven’s benefit.

Parking lots P2, P4 and P5 have been stripped of asphalt and are currently being replaced with concrete. By doing this, Director of Facilities Services Tommy Gallegos said: “The college saves [approximately $25,000 per lot] on not having to recoat the asphalt every three years.”Replacing the asphalt with concrete will not only mean saving money but will also lessen the turbulent traffic students currently face, specifically those who arrive between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Brookhaven student Danielle Jarvis arrives on campus at 7:30 a.m. and said it takes her 10 minutes to find a parking spot. “The first few days, I had to park on the grass,” she said. It’s not just the morning rush that proves busy, either, Jarvis said: “Getting out at 1:20 p.m. is even worse.”

Campus police have helped with the hectic flow of traffic but not without a few bumps along the way. According to an official statement from the Brookhaven Police Department, “Several motorists are not paying attention to officers’ hand signals and have almost caused several accidents.” Officers are directing traffic between classes and during the lunchtime rush. Besides avoiding potential accidents, heat exhaustion is a serious issue among the department. “We are using the entire shift to direct traffic, and the heat is unbearable,” Capt. John Klingensmith said. “The officers have to replenish with water, Powerade, etc.” Adding to the relentless heat that comes with standing in the street for hours at a time, officers are equipped with 20 pounds of gear, including bulletproof and traffic vests.

“Supervisors have to really monitor them for heat exhaustion,” Klingensmith said. The lack of parking spaces has forced many students to park in the grass field near the P4 parking lot. Officers are not currently citing students for parking violations. None will be given until the P2 parking lot reopens sometime in late September. Police are not the only ones working in the Texas Heat. “We are out here between eight to 10 hours a day,” construction worker Diego Mojica said after stepping out of a tractor and chugging a Powerade. Juan Abila, another construction worker, said a few of their workers have passed out from the heat.

Aside from being repaved, the lots are also expanding. Foreman Ray Granberry said there will be new landscaping and trees planted, as well as larger parking lots. The first planned parking lot to be completed is P2, slated for Sept. 30. Lots P4 and P5 are not scheduled for completion until Summer 2015. Information regarding the parking lot reconstruction and any changes in scheduled completion dates can be found on the Brookhaven website.