News editorial: Park at your own risk

Within a span of a few weeks, debris was seen crumbling onto and nearby cars on the first and second floors of the parking garage. (Jenna French/The Griffin)

Debris is falling in the parking garage and students are not happy

Back and forth, Canisius has debated when to demolish the parking ramp but, considering the poor conditions, students and staff who utilize the parking garage should no longer have to park at their own risk.

Within the span of a couple of weeks, I have witnessed two instances of debris chunks falling onto vehicles, and pieces measuring over a few feet long falling near parked cars. Taking these instances into consideration, the Canisius community is left to question whether someone will be injured or a car will be left beyond repair. The parking garage is only a ticking time bomb, and will continue to deteriorate rapidly considering the harsh weather months we endure in Buffalo. Remind me again ⁠— why do I pay $64 to park here?

“We’re getting to the point in which we have readily admitted that the parking garage is beyond its useful life,” President John Hurley said. 

With all due respect, President Hurley, I know that the parking ramp is far beyond “its span of useful life.” Canisius needs answers and does not want any more empty words. The life of the parking ramp has expired past its use, and Canisius should take action immediately to address the heaping pile of problems. Genuinely, I care about the community, and I do not want to see anyone get hurt.

“It’s a debilitating building that is an eyesore for the college, and I mean speaking as a tour guide, we don’t go anywhere near the Jefferson side of the parking garage,” said Kieran Sommer, vice president of the Commuter Student Association (CSA). 

According to the VP of Business and Finance, Marco Benedetti, the parking ramp was inspected within the last six months because the City of Buffalo requires an annual inspection for parking ramps. The report came back showing the parking ramp is structurally sound, despite showing age. President Hurley said the parking ramp is “not in danger of just collapsing,” which is reassuring; however, Canisius still needs to address why so much debris is falling.

Falling debris can be reported to Public Safety, explained Chief of Public Safety Kimberly Beaty. According to Chief Beaty, these reports will later be given to facilities to address concerns. In the meantime, Public Safety blocks off the area.

Sometimes I contemplate who is responsible for cleaning up the fallen debris and taping it off because the debris I saw was cleaned up, but the spot on the second floor where the large chunk of debris fell was never blocked off. Why are students still allowed to park in these unsafe areas? 

Students are still parking in these areas, and by the time they’re done, the whole parking ramp will be taped off. Unfortunately, facilities were not able to discuss the parking ramp at this time due to the absence of some of the facility management team this week.

If instances like these occur, Benedetti said the college would be responsible if someone was injured. In the case of a vehicle, the college would have to take into consideration where the car was parked and the damage to the vehicle.

“One of the things that we would expect people to look at when they’re parking is to pay attention [to] where they’re parking at,” said Benedetti. 

I shouldn’t have to worry if I’m safe in the parking garage. I should trust that the school I’m paying lots of money to attend won’t let anything get in the way of their students’ safety.

Caution tape seen spread around the parking ramp indicates that this a major area of concern. Students who park here are assuming their own risks, said Benedetti. Since students are paying money to park here, we shouldn’t have to worry about debris hitting our vehicles or most importantly ourselves, while parking in the areas designated as structurally safe.

The third floor is another problem of its own. President Hurley explained that parking ramps are concrete structures wrapped around a steel base. Over time, the steel in the base oxidizes, which leads to rusting and is an irreversible process. President Hurley said the third floor is not safe for cars to park on due to the damage done.

 Yet, debris still falls everywhere. Chunks of rusty metal are being found in the heels of shoes, and the water dripping from the ceiling full of minerals and salt can leave a stain if not cleaned while parking is still a constant pain.

Please contact Jenna French if your vehicle has been damaged due to the parking ramp, and if/how it was addressed by Canisius.

“I’m tired of playing chicken with people who can’t see signs or arrows,” said Kiara Letherbarrow, the public relations coordinator for CSA. 

Other representatives from CSA said they are concerned about having enough space to park, both presently and in the future. Benedetti said the second floor was restriped over the summer, in preparation for Catholic Health employees now residing on the third floor of Science Hall, but due to the ramp’s condition, it didn’t last.

Facilities’ master plan details that the parking garage at some point is going to be demolished, but those who park there need to know when. Money is certainly a challenge for big projects like these, but it would be in the school’s best interest to demolish the ramp and build something new. If someone were to be injured it would hurt Canisius’ reputation, and the school needs to consider that Catholic Health is now in the ramp as well.

Catholic Health has invested money into the school and if something were to happen it could possibly ruin our relationship. I am asking on behalf of the student body for the administration to address this problem in order to better our community and ensure everyone’s safety.

2 thoughts on “News editorial: Park at your own risk

  1. I’m curious why this story was framed as an editorial? There’s some good reportage in here, and a good deep dive into some of the many aspects (maybe across multiple articles) could be extremely interesting, useful, and would put pressure on the administration to act: safety concerns; insurance concerns; the costs of fixing the garage vs. replacing it; the threats to the Catholic Health partnership; etc. Again, there’s great reporting going on here – highlight it!!

    -A retired Griffin editor (who wrote about this sometime around 2011! the neverending story…). 🙂

  2. I would love to see the parking ramp removed and replaced with a beautiful surface lot. This parking lot would include a roadway with benches, landscaping , bright lighting and shuttle bus stops. It would join the 2 campuses and we could still park 400+ cars there. The cost has always been the challenge.

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