After much anticipation and thousands of young adults waiting to arrive back on ECU’s campus, Aug. 23 was the return of the Pirates. ECU’s campus was filled with thousands of new freshmen who were just starting their new lives away from home and returning seniors counting down the days until they start their real lives.
Although I, like many other students, was excited to be back on campus and finally get back to some sort of normal, trying to get on campus this week from my apartment was very challenging. Of course, on the first day of school, traffic was out of this world so that was no surprise at all.
By the time I got on campus for my 11 a.m. class, the parking deck at the Main Campus Student Center had a sign that signified that the parking deck was full so once I got turned around, I had to frantically find parking. Thankfully, I left my apartment an hour and 15 minutes before my class started so I had a little bit of time to figure out what my next move was. Eventually I had to park in a different lot where I was stressed about getting a ticket because I didn’t have a sticker for that lot.
The parking deck is probably one of the most stressful things I’ve had to encounter this week. If it’s not the parking deck attendees saying that the parking deck is full, it’s the people walking in front of your car or people not letting you get in the parking spot and there’s people impatiently waiting on you to park your car. My biggest issue with the parking deck is that I don’t understand the sign that says the parking deck is full if there’s barely any cars going in and a lot of cars going out.
To me it doesn’t really add up. The other day I pulled up to the parking garage and it seemed like I was the only one that was trying to get in so I pulled off to the side and put my hazards on so when the sign was moved, I would just be able to go in and park. Unfortunately, I was moved because I was “impeding traffic,” so I left and pulled into A lot until the sign was moved.
In the 10 minutes that I was sitting there waiting for the sign to get moved, at least 30 cars had left the parking deck and the sign still was not moved. I was starting to wonder how the cars could be coming out, but nobody was able to come in. It wasn’t full, so why would the sign still be there? Parking in the deck all the days after wasn’t much better, still stressful and still “full.”
The next thing that I had an issue with was the bus situation. The first time I rode the bus from my car to the campus, there weren't that many people up there, so I was comfortable. However, the second time I rode the bus my skin was crawling because there were many people on the bus all around me and in the middle of a pandemic, that wasn’t the best experience, so I certainly think something needs to be done about that so that we aren’t crammed together when we’re supposed to be socially distant.
Last year, the bus situation was so much better because there was actually some order. The buses had marked seats where passengers couldn’t sit to maintain social distance. There was only one way in and one way out, and I don’t believe there would even be enough people on the bus to even have people standing up. Although the bus doors are marked with “ENTER ONLY” or “EXIT ONLY,” the bus that I rode wasn't as forced as heavy as it was last school year. If the buses go back to the way they were last year, the bus ride could be a lot more comfortable and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All in all, I think parking and riding to campus should be a lot better and there should be some changes in the way that we travel and park at school.
Jala Davis is a junior communication major and a guest columnist.