On March 6th the university played host to the America East basketball tournament which limited the already sparse parking on campus. Add in a rain storm that dumped several inches of rain on Hartford and combine that with three feet of melting snow and it all made for the perfect storm at the university. By 11:30 on Sunday night the combination of torrential rain and melting snow had caused the Park River to overflow its banks and run steadily over University Drive and parts of D, E and F lot
“We tried sending out warnings earlier in the weekend that if you were in a low lying area please move your cars so we wont have to tow, we are providing a public service and we towed 133 cars.” said John Schmaltz, Director of Public Safety.
Flooding got progressively worse through Monday morning and the university had to close lots C and D, as well as university drive. Factor in an admissions event and parking was becoming even harder to find.
“I understand the massive frustration there is no doubt about it again I do not know what the answer is minus shutting down the university and there is a lot of secondary ramifications, and unintended consequences so to speak.” said Schmaltz
The school quickly ran out of parking spaces leaving students, faculty and staff frustrated. “There was no parking anywhere, because the visitor lots were full and commuter lots were full and the commuter lots were empty and we wanted to park there when every thing else is full.” said sophomore Caitlin Blauvelt.
“I did have a problem finding a spot C lot was full D lot, I had to park all the way over in B lot.” said Tennisha Thomspon sophomore.
Schmatlz says that parking “stinks” on campus and that he does not set the pricing or engineer the parking lots. He did say that students would not be charged if there car was towed. He said the university felt that many of the towed cars had been moved from high ground in N-Lot to accommodate the America East Tournament they did not feel it was fair to bill for towing service.