Results tagged “parking” from Hawk Talk - Christian


What is wrong with this picture?  Why is the side of the parking aisle empty... and why is everyone parking right in the middle of the road????

Ladies and Gentlemen, today, February 4, 2008 - a date which will live in infamy - the Riverview Lot was attacked by a small snow storm the night before, which ultimately caused a massive amount of confusion to the commuter and residential community of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.  This morning, the parking lot was dusted with a half-inch of snow, which covered the yellow parking lines (and possibly glared common sense to some drivers).  With the snow on the ground, students began to make their own parking spaces in a disorganized and broken-jigsaw-like fashion.  A simple idea of creating your own parking row soon became a chaotic, yet comical nuisance to all mid-day commuters.  As soon as the sun came up and the temperatures rose, the snow melted.  There was a surprise waiting for the UMass-Lowell community especially for the UML Police and commuters - NO ONE WAS PARKING ON A LEGAL SPACE (and another picture below).

[Caption:  A driver makes her/his own parking space... wait everyone did]

I honestly started to laugh when I saw the mess we all made (yes, that includes me - a picture of my car "out of line" below).  I have never seen such a thing in my whole life.  It was such a simple (and right) thing to create your own parking row, which allows enough room to drive around the lot, yet we all messed up and underestimated the line placement. 


Yep, okay, we messed up, but I think some people are COMPLETE IDIOTS.  Why would you park your car three rows deep, instead of making a new aisle for parking?   When I say three rows deep, I meant that there are three consecutive rows of cars next to each other.  So basically the middle row is completely trapped in the middle.  Yes.  You heard me.  Three rows deep.  Don't believe me?  I have a (poor) picture to prove it, with labels and a small overhead view of the parking situation (below).  ... What happened to common sense today?  Did we forget that a full section means... well... it's full?  It's like trying to add an extra 6 eggs in a carton dozen of eggs.  Come on, wake up!

[Caption:  A detailed picture of the 3-deep parking mess.  I also made a diagram of the situation if you don't know what I'm talking about.  The numbers indicate the row]

Overall, I think this should be a wake-up call to the UML administration.  When it snows, it snows.  Plow it or melt it, even if its just a coating.  It would reduce any type of craziness that happens in the South Campus Riverview Parking Lot.  Maybe those snow banks at the back should go?  If they are removed, students would be able to park in actual parking spaces than making their own parking space.  Did you see what happened when students made their own parking spaces?  Wow.  That's all I can say.  Absolute Wow.  Thank God the UML Police didn't ticket people at all, because they would have a field day ticketing every single car in the back side of the lot. 

I wonder what tomorrow bring for UML parking?

Maybe another adventure to blog about?  Absolutely. 

- Christian

My first day back on UMass-Lowell soil was uneventful.  Actually, it was the worst first day of classes I've been experienced.  Figures, it's my last semester as an undergraduate at the campus, too! 

Let's start out with some positive aspects of my first day.  I woke up at a reasonable time that morning, which gave me enough space and time to watch T.V., catch up on the news, take a shower, have a "good" breakfast, and warm-up my car adequately (Sweet).  My drive up to Lowell was also pretty awesome too.  The drive was a good 35 minutes without any hint of traffic, slow downs from state trooper speed traps, or even a splash of icy patches.  Heck, even my trek through the back streets of Lowell was very smooth without any red light stops or construction.  But as soon as I turned into Broadway St. and entered the Riverview lot, my commuter nightmare begun. 

Let's just say that my journey in the parking lot took a good... 45 minutes to find a LEGAL parking space.  First of all, it seems like UML decided to dump all their snow on one corner of the "Big Lot," which eliminated a good 40+ spaces.  Why on Earth did they do that?  They never did that stuff before!  In the past, the crew usually would dump all that snow behind the softball fields, where the temporary overflow lot was.  I guess this time, the university decided to just pile 20ft mounds ON the active parking lot.  With those mounds, many people decided to parallel park next to them like there was no problem narrowing the space to drive.  Also, many people just decided that there were no such thing as parking lines.  I saw people continue to add more "imaginary" spaces, which also obstructed driving.  Come on folks, I know the unverisity screwed up by not removing those mountains of snow before the first day of classes (and the annual first day parking auto-fill), but at least don't be stupid by making driving difficult for that lot.  So basically, driving in that lot was like a Pac-man game without eating ghosts - we're all "Pac-mans" who were hungry for a clean parking space.  Luckily for me (after 45 minutes of car "Pac-man," I found a space in the Mahoney parking lot.  Thank God I gave myself a lot of time that day.

Here's the picture of the snow mounds from the top of the Mahoney parking lot:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but you can tell that those hills are noticable in the picture. 

I wonder where all the new snow will be dumped tomorrow... I hope they plow all that stuff onto the unused overflow lot.  At least get rid of those hills so I (and the rest of the commuter population) won't spend 45 minutes of my life looking for a space.

- Ian

I want to straight out say that I'm glad that my coworkers and I survived the 2008 Holiday Season.  The malls were crowded - the checkout lines were long - customers went nuts when things don't go their way - tons of money being dropped for that special person/people (and I'm proud to say that was not me).

But throughout the enormous two-month war between the customer and the store, the 2008 Holiday Season was not as busy as years before.  A few years ago, retail stores would be busy majority of the time.  In the news, I would read/watch stuff about customers fighting it out for that one product, waiting in line for hours, creating illegal parking spaces, and other weird yet comical things.  But this year seems different.  Most of the time my store would experience pockets of quietness then a few short bursts of accumulating crowds.  The parking lots were not as full as before, and the frequency of a "sold-out" parking lot was relatively low.  Customers would "pick away" or buy their series of presents in small amounts than the large, one-time shopping buyout.  Seriously, the economy definitely affected everyone from retail stores to customers.

Sure, it was still a stressful season since those rushes were overwhelming with needy customers.  But overall, I did feel the effects of the economic crisis - from the low turn-out of customers to the lack of sales.  Funny enough, the economy affected the company so bad that they ended up "clearancing" all of their Christmas products two days before Christmas started.  I've never seen anything like that before.  From what I've heard from the news, retail sales went down a miserable 5 - 10% during the shopping season.  Think about it.  Let's say your store makes $1,000,000 during that period, and you're sales went down 10%?  You pretty much lost $100,000 of your profit.   That's a ton of money!!

Now retail stores are cleaning up the mess and saving more money with a employee or hour cuts, which is pretty much hurting me right now.  With the new semester around the corner and bills piling up, money is tight and I need the hours to buy new books and stuff from clinicals.

Hmmm...  I'm hoping that President-elect Barrack Obama can change things around and save this economy.

- Christian   
Okay.  Parking at UMass-Lowell isn't the greatest... Heck, it's even not worth the $148 full-time commuter parking fee that I have to blow from my wallet every fall semester!  I've talked to other commuter students from other campuses and they pay less than $100 for parking.  Talk about a major rip-off!!!

The commuter lots are always filled to max capacity, which totally stinks for commuter students.  The overflow commuter lot, or what the new UML Parking Map calls the South Auxillary Lot, which is also known as "The Grass Lot" to some people, is only open for a number of hours and at times can be filled to near max capacity.  So where else should I park if those areas are just completely jam packed?  There WAS an option of parking my car in North Campus and taking the shuttles to the other campuses, but that option is pretty much burnt up in the oven since the University Avenue Bridge was just shut down in August, and its planned reopening will be on December 1st. (Talk about bad timing with bridge construction too).   The other campuses are inaccessible due to the high amounts of traffic from students traveling through the streets of Lowell.  I mind as well just walk between campuses until the bridge is fixed!  I've talked to one of my friends who travels between campus, and she is very ticked off with parking and traffic at the University.  She doesn't like the fact that parking here is very insufficient for all students, especially for commuters.  Honestly, there seem to be more commuter students attending UML.  So is there a solution for that?

Is it just me, or we are missing a parking lot near Sheehy Hall?  Yep, the parking lot is gone for good.  That means that the Riverview parking lot will be a little bit fuller with residential students.  And what happened to the "VIP lot" behind Mahoney Hall?  There was a section of 4 - 6 spaces of unmarked parking spaces which was used by students (including) for the past 3 years.  The first day of the Fall Semester was a shocker:  my favorite parking space is no longer available for students.  It's a professor/staff lot.  What a big stinker!  
I just have a feeling that UML will continue its tradition of insufficient parking for awhile until either a big capacity parking garage is built on North and South, and the "Grass Lot" turns to an actual parking lot but for now, I just have to deal with it...

Oh there's more to say, but all that cluttered thoughts just fell out of my head... Let me compare my cluttered thoughts to a Jenga tower.  Take a few thoughts out, put it on paper (or in an electronic blog), and CRASH!!! The tower falls to the ground.  Okay, maybe its just a writer's block...

Enough from me tonight.  I need some sleep... All I'm going to say is that I'm not looking forward to my next adventure for a parking space this Friday. 

- Christian

Welcome Back!!!

After months of just laying around, working, coaching baseball, and other fun stuff, I managed to get myself up around 7am in the morning, eat a good breakfast, get ready, and head up to Lowell for my first day of classes.  The commute up to UML wasn't too bad.  Traffic on Rt. 128/I-95 was a bit slow, but it was never a crawl.  Overall the commute was a good 40 minute drive, which was considered a normal run up to Lowell. 

But there was one thing that surprised me the most:  I got to avoid the annual first day parking crunch.  How I managed not to get into that is just one big mystery to me.  You can say I was really lucky.  I drove into the "VIP Lot"  (check my March or April blogs about some terminology my buddies and I made up) and found my favorite parking space vacant.  (Score!)  Right away, the start of my senior year was going better than expected.  I got to see all my EP buddies again after 3 months of nothing.  We all just had this similar feeling:  surprised...  "I can't believe we're seniors."   After 3 long years with hardcore science GPA classes, we were there looking at each other knowing this will be the last semester/year together.  At that point, I didn't even feel like a senior.  It just felt like the first time we all met each other in Professor Chamberlain's Intro to EP class (and yes, the get up, get your number and address exercise). 

I had 4 classes that day:  Research Methods in EP, Exercise Prescription and Programming, Health Care Systems, and (oh man) Vitamins and Minerals.  My first two EP classes were as expected, which was just a quick intro into senior year.  We watched a video about Universal Precautions and about HIPPA (look it up).  Health Care Systems was just a quick intro too.  But there was one class that caught me by surprise:  Vitamins and Minerals.  At first, I thought it would be a general class about vitamins and minerals and its use, but it all came up to be a very detailed and structural biochemistry class.  The professor was extremely nice and intelligent, but the information that I absorbed did not match what I expected.  Besides, there were a few graduate students in there who were there because it was required.  I basically planned to take that class to fulfill my nutrition minor.  So after 3 hours of "what the heck I am doing here"  I went into the library, looked up ISIS, checked my credits for the semester and found out that if I dropped the class I will still be a full-time student.  The only bummer is that I have to wait until the spring semester to make up that one class.  My original plan was to keep 5 classes for the fall and 4 classes for the spring, but obviously that's going to get switched around.  Oh well.

I definitely have more to blog about my past weekend, the Lowell Spinners game (Thanks Elaine!), and other stuff about my first week.  So please come back and read some more!

- If you have any questions about the college or about my commute, email me 


P.S.  I found this video in one of my blogs.  It was a video of me driving from Malden/Melrose line to Lowell in a 11 minute stint.  Don't worry it's a compacted quick video:  Click here to watch my video!


Commuters Prepare!

Hello everyone, 

I'm looking at my calendar, and there are about two weeks left of August.  That means the fall semester is coming up (way too) fast. 

For new commuter students, there's a lot of things you have to expect on the first few weeks of classes:

1)  GET YOUR PARKING PERMIT!   This is the most important thing to get before first day of classes!  The permit is a decal that states that you are a commuter student and you have the authority to park in most parking lots.  If you do not have the permit on the first day, you will get a UML Police Parking Ticket, or what the commuters call the infamous "Orange Envelope."  So please get one as soon as possible!  To order a permit online, please go to this website:

2)   The parking lots in UMass-Lowell will be filled quickly and traffic will be a "I-93 highway crawl."  This is probably due to students trying to find the large parking lots, and other students still moving into their dorms.  From what I heard from other students, the parking lot right next to Sheehy Hall was removed and turned into a green spot (and I still don't know why).  So traffic will be tighter than usual and parking spots will be harder to find.  I would definitely leave your house earlier than planned.  Try to plan out your route in advance by driving to UML before move-in day so you can get accustomed to where to go, so the first day vehicle jam won't be a major surprise to you. 

3)   Get your vehicles checked by your mechanic before you start driving to school everyday.  It is a good idea to get your brakes fixed, check your engine light, tires, and other car stuff.  This step is basically a time to prevent any future breakdowns during the school semester.  Trust me, you don't want to miss classes because your car fails to start in the morning!  When the semester moves on into October, it is good to think about winterizing your car, because slippery roads are dangerous.

4)  Talking about breakdowns and bad weather, sometimes you may get stranded in UML.  It's a good idea to have extra clothing in the car, some toothpaste, a toothbrush, and other essentials that will help you through the night.  Please don't sleep in the car with the engine on... there will be carbon monoxide build up and that's deadly!  If you know a friend that has a dorm, sleep over there instead.  Trust me, especially in the winter, the car freezes up.

5)  Know the gas stations around the area.  Fortunately, UML South has a gas station right next to it.  The prices there are fairly inexpensive compared to others in the area.  But it's a good idea to fill up before you leave your house.  I created a link from Google Maps that shows all the gas stations around Lowell:  Google Maps: Gas Stations in Lowell

6)  Here's a tip about parking again:  Please don't create your own parking space.  This is the reason why commuters get ticked off.  Some people tend to park in places that aren't considered as spaces at all, or some are stupid enough to park on a handicap space when they aren't handicapped!  Please remember this:  as long as you park in an area that says that you are allowed to park there, and your vehicle is between the white solid lines, you will be fine!

Well those are the basic points for the first few weeks of classes.  There are probably other points that I did not go over, but as soon as I think of others, I'll re-edit this blog. 

Please ask questions if you are confused about anything about the commuter life.  I will be a senior this fall and I think I know my way around as a commuter :-)

If you do have questions, you can email me:

- Christian

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