By Sean P Quigley
The majority of the college’s expanding student population attends the Ammerman Campus, creating an aggravating, time consuming and most importantly dangerous driving environment for students and faculty alike.
Most anyone on campus can relate to the toils of being stuck in an Ammerman parking lot. From trying to slip into the long curving snake like lines of cars to waiting 30 minutes for a parking spot, the traffic issues are experienced by everyone. People must screech, slide and speed onto the road less than a second before being clobbered by another vehicle, or sit around at the head of the 30 honking, jeering, impatiently piloted cars following for sometimes tens and tens of minutes, waiting until the clouds break and just for a moment a safe exit is made possible. “It’s like Riverhead Raceway at that damn place,” shares criminal justice major Andrew Klingman. Many people, from students to administrators, feel that Suffolk is one big accident waiting to happen.
This has been a daily struggle and risk for the SCCC community, still who to blame and what to do remain a mystery. Campus Dean/ CEO James Sherwood assures that traffic study’s are in fact being done and a paving project has been underway but admits he is aware of little of what the study consists of and that Jon Demaio, Administrative Director of Educational Facilities would be the key person to shed light on such matters.
Demaio explained that “traffic engineering is an interesting animal” and shared some possible ideas and their drawbacks on how to make SCCC a safer place to drive, confirming that “it is a problem we are aware of and concerned about.”
A traffic light is frequently proposed but is not realistic because it would have exasperating effects further down the road. Students and faculty would soon find themselves jam packed and crammed all the way down Nicolls road if one were to be installed. A roundabout is one other option he discussed but went on to share that the lack of property and the limited budget on the college puts a big halt on such a “significant change.”
Despite the turtle-like progress, short term solutions are in the works. Starting this past summer and continuing this summer, improved placement of traffic signs will be underway. Also, a fresh paving job on the pothole littered abyss in which students drive will be completed . Demaio realizes that something must be done on the schools part but is not blind to what may be the main factor in the perils of Ammerman’s roads, students.
The youth, above most anything are known for reckless driving. Demaio points out that he witnesses the danger first hand when he sees “hazardous driving, impatient maneuvers, and students flying through campus.” He explains the only way to fix such a problem is through education, adding “you have to enforce rules and provide a penalty for that kind of behavior.” That notion is not only solely agreed upon by just the matured members of the institution, as evidence by Jourdan Cottone, a second semester student at Ammerman explained. “I believe the age of the people driving is dangerous, they’re still in the “invincible” stage.”
Clearly there are many factors to the problem. One cannot expect the institution to do something about it while the students’ hap-hazardly race about campus. At the same time, one cannot expect an entire generation to change the way they drive. Co-operation is needed on all sides of the spectrum to progressively work towards a solution. Without a doubt, it take a lot of time and even more money for Suffolk to make any significant movement, so the first step towards making Ammerman a safer place to drive is to focus within. Students must think before slamming their foot on the gas and cutting their wheels sporadically into the road. Drivers must practice using better judgment and harbor more respect, patience and courtesy for the road and fellow members of the SCCC community. Until then watch your backs while cruising the campus because you’re bound to, hopefully figuratively, run into an under-skilled, overly aggressive driver.