Volume 95, Issue 44

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
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SSSC pursues missing soph fees

Illegal parking poses huge safety risk

Turmoil puts war on hold

Western now home to Uber-computer

Sex offender in London

Illegal parking poses huge safety risk

By Kristina Lundblad
Gazette Staff

Think before you park is the message campus emergency response services are sending out to Western students.

Concern is growing over vehicles parked on campus fire and emergency routes, said David Colvin, Western emergency response and preparedness co-ordinator, adding illegally parked vehicles are a "nightmare" for emergency crews.

"We know parking can be a challenge at times, but don't park where you're not supposed to," Colvin said, noting parking in front of fire hydrants and in tow-away zones are also common hazards on campus.

Colvin said the Kent Drive area, which starts in front of the Richard Ivey School of Business and runs to the area between Stevenson-Lawson Building and Somerville House, is of the greatest concern

Inspector Bob Earle of the University Police Department said this area is the primary emergency access for the University Community Centre and other core locations on campus, like DB Weldon Library.

Earle said the Kent Drive area is already very congested during the day with service and delivery trucks and individual cars only aggravate the situation.

John Kobarda, deputy chief of operations for the London Fire Department, said if cars are illegally parked, the difficulty of maneuvering wide fire trucks increases, as does accessibility to fire hydrants.

Kobarda said if a car is in front of a hydrant, the fire department's priority is the burning building and the people inside. "The last thing we're going to do is worry about the car," he said, noting the possibility of damage to a car if it gets in the way of a hydrant.

There is a $100 fine for parking in a fire or emergency route and enforcement will be stepped up in the Kent Drive parking lot, Earle said.

"This is a safety issue," Earle said. "We're not [fining people] out of spite or trying to play the heavy hand – we just want people to be conscious of the potential for a life-threatening situation."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001