A number of Fairfield University seniors defended their right to park on both sides of Reef Road near the beach by attending the Police Commission at the Fairfield Police Department on Wednesday.
Local residents with complaints about overcrowding due to students parking on both sides of the road requested that students be limited to parking on only one side. This request was denied.
Along with causing seniors to lose parking, many other negative effects of abolishing parking were brought up at the meeting. According to Fairfield engineer Bill Hurley, for residents living on Reef Road, if they were only allowed to park on one side of the street, they would have to cross the road many times a day, which would be inconvenient and possibly unsafe. Additionally, the fact that parking cars on both sides of the road makes the street look narrower causes cars to drive more slowly was pointed out by Police Chief Gary MacNamara.
Fairfield Beach Road resident Harvey Kravetz pointed out that, due to the lack of space, many cars must cross over the center line in the middle of the street, which is a safety issue.
“It endangers oncoming cars,” said Kravetz. “One side parking would be a lot easier to have on Reef Road. There was a lot of objection because it would eliminate a lot of parking, mostly for the students. When the students aren’t there, there’s no cars on the road. So it’s almost all student parking in just that segment of Reef Road. It makes it very difficult for cars to pass in both directions.”
Senior Danielle Simko, Vice President of the Beach Resident Advocacy Group, commented “The people in the community felt that [the road] was too congested; however, they didn’t have a solution for us. And in this meeting, all the reasons that it is not possible to do the alternate side parking, or eliminate parking in certain areas, or whatever their other solutions were, were discussed.”
“I think it’s really important to students,” Simko continued, “because, they don’t want to have to walk a half a mile or more to their car. There are already so many people down there that there really is no other solution.”
BRAG Community Liaison Anthony Cersosimo ’16 agreed, commenting, “On high traffic days, I’ve had people that I don’t even know park in my driveway because the street was packed … If there were one side parking, I think there would be a lot more of issues like that.”
Assistant director of Residence Life Pejay Lucky, who oversees and supervises BRAG, was also in attendance at the meeting.
“I’m just here to support the students, to make sure that the students have a voice,” he said.
“I think students need to have a voice in the community they live in. I was happy to see the students that came to the meeting,” Lucky added.
Despite denying the alternate parking request made by Fairfield residents, by the end of the meeting Police Commissioner Susan Barrett oved that there be more discussion on the issue, so that the safety of the road could be further explored, and Commissioner Norma Peterson seconded the motion. Commissioners Jack Stone and Arthur Hersh were also in favor.
Cersosimo was pleased with the way the meeting turned out.
“I think most people got what they wanted for the most part,” he stated. “Even if they didn’t get exactly what they wanted, at least they got a further discussion. I think, as long as there’s discussion, people will be happy.”
“I hope, when students have a concern about what’s going on in the community, that they continue to go out and take a stand,” added Lucky. “Students live at the beach and they have their own rights there. They are also residents, even though they are only there for nine months out of the year. They have rights, just as the full-time residents do.”