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Maintaining CHS parking lot, a slippery slope in the winter

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Driving is one of the many privileges that comes with becoming a teen. Being able to free yourself from the constant “need for a ride” really relieves some of the stress of the busy high school life. However, vehicle operation can add a whole new level of stress to the day, especially during the winter.

Driving in the winter weather can pose a challenging threat to new, inexperienced drivers. According to Jaime Netzer of Quoted, operated under The Zebra, a car insurance, technology and finance focused media source, “Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.”

As many drivers, experienced and inexperienced alike, can agree that parking lots can be the most overlooked roadways in the winter. The parking lot at Canfield High School has spaces for the entire student body – as most students get their licenses around their sophomore year – and receives heavy traffic much of the day. However, the condition of the parking lot is often ridiculed by many students in the winter.

In a survey of 120 Canfield students who drive to school, 100% stated that they have difficulty seeing the spot numbers and lines in the parking lot due to snow in the winter. About 90% of those surveyed said that their car slides in the parking lot. Walking isn’t the safest either. About 95% claim to slip occasionally to often while walking in the parking lot during the winter.

While the winter upkeep of the parking lot could use some improvement, most people are unaware of the work that is put into the maintenance of the high school parking lot in the winter.

Keeping the parking lots in a reasonable condition for driving requires a lot of work done by many different people. According to Canfield High School’s head custodian, Mr. Scott Stack, the snow removal process is a joint effort between the Canfield High School custodial staff and the staff from the Canfield bus garage.

The bus garage sends trucks to all the Canfield schools, some days as early as 3:30 in the morning, to plow and salt the main parking lots. Stack estimates that it takes about 2 1/2 hours per building for three trucks to plow the lots. The custodial staff at each school is responsible for managing the curbs, sidewalks and stairs for their building.

While Stack did not feel confident in estimating the cost per year that the bus garage spends in plowing and salting the lots, he said that “as far as the sidewalks go, just in material, we spend probably $1400 [a year] for salt.”

A problem also arises if it were to snow heavily during the day, as the lot is filled with student vehicles. There are some measures to combat this situation, Stack said. If the lots would need to be plowed during the day while filled with cars, the high school custodians would have to use smaller vehicles to plow the main thoroughfares. While this isn’t ideal, it is one of the only options that the staff would be capable of with their limited equipment and the numerous obstacles.

Stack said, “We do what we can do with what we have to work with, and try to keep them [the sidewalks and lots] as clean and safe as possible. There are times, there are some things we can’t take care off.”

While it’s true that the condition of the parking lots can be less than ideal in the winter, a significant amount of work goes into keeping them as safe as possible. While the staff at Canfield High School does their part to maintain and hopefully, improve the conditions of our parking lot in the winter, students need to remember to be smart while driving, go slow, and pay attention to their surroundings. 

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Maintaining CHS parking lot, a slippery slope in the winter