By Kendra Sprague, Staff Writer

Parking spaces for students will be limited this winter due to the majority of space in Lot 9 now being occupied by UMF’s new heating system. Because of the change, the two lots most commonly used by students are now to be found on either ends of the campus. Lot 26, which is located behind the Farmington Recreation Center (FRC) and Lot 18, prone to seasonal flooding, near Prescott field.

Officer Wayne Drake, a police officer with Public Safety, speculates that not all of Lot 9 will be out of commission this upcoming winter. “We are going to get some spots back, hopefully some time in December, January to be safe, realistically,” said Drake. “Hopefully we will gain 30-40 spots back in Lot 9.” Lot 9 is located across from Stone Hall, beside the Public Safety building, and has been most popular among the student body in previous years.

While it may be tempting to park closer to the dorms in undesignated zones, Officer Drake advises against it. “Lots 11 and 15 are designated for commuters and overnight guests, but if [recurring] guests or on campus students who park where they’re not supposed to take up all the spots, commuters have nowhere to park in the morning,” said Drake. “If everyone just parks where they’re supposed to, it will make the winter months a lot smoother.” Parking tickets will still be issued accordingly, regardless of weather conditions.

“Any street governed by Farmington has a parking ban. UMF gives out tickets, but if [students] are parked on the street, they’re going to get towed,” said Drake. Citywide parking bans are in effect from midnight to 6am, from Nov. 15th to Apr. 15th, on any street, public way, town-owned parking lot, or leased parking lot. This parking ban is also applicable at any time of any day in which a vehicle may hinder the removal of snow by town facilities.

With no getting around the inevitable extra-long walk to and from the far lots, students should prepare accordingly, keeping vehicles stocked with items such as ice scrapers, shovels, and a pair of gloves. However, public safety is always available on standby, in cases of crisis. “We’ve certainly rescued students before. Every week I respond to dead car batteries, students locking themselves out of their cars, we have shovels that we can loan out,” said Drake. “We’re almost always able to help get them going.”     

There are also blue emergency call boxes located in each parking lot, and at various locations around campus. “If anyone ever feels unsafe or in danger, don’t hesitate to give us a call,” he said. “That being said, we have to stay on-call for actual emergencies.” Students are always encouraged to call public safety in the event of an emergency.  

UMF’s facilities department relies on students to tell one another via social media or by word of mouth, when a lot needs to be cleared in order to plow. “The biggest issue I see with parking this year is that we usually have enough room to move cars to plow a designated lot. This year, that’s gonna be tough,” he said. “Winter is always a challenge because you have to deal with snow removal, and facilities do the best they can.” Students are encouraged to help out with the plowing process by keeping no-parking zones clear and routinely maintaining their individual vehicles. “Don’t abandon your car. Keep it cleaned off, keep it running,” he said. “Most of our problem comes from people who have left their car all winter. They get snowed in and buried, and then facilities has to plow around it.” The phone number for Public Safety is (207) 778-7400 and they are available 24/7, in case of an emergency.