OPINION: Tiny car owners breathe a sigh of relief at the removal of speed bumps

Over the past two years, Belmont has proudly opened two shiny new buildings full of prestige and marble. The introduction of these lovely new buildings has brought with them some new traffic features.

Campus Security and Facilities Management have exhibited an extraordinary amount of concern for student safety by taking the time to send out emails and notifications in an effort to prepare students to deal with some of these changes, most notably the subtle nuances of navigating a roundabout.

They did not, however, prepare us as a student body for the trials and tribulations that would come to light with the installation of three mountainous speed bumps placed back-to-back at the entrance and exit of the WAC and Inman garages.

While these speed bumps don’t pose much of a problem for most vehicles, my car is roughly the size of a chicken nugget and possesses approximately the same horsepower.

Two weeks after the WAC opened, I purchased a Chevy Spark thinking that its tiny size and great gas mileage would make it the perfect car for me. I was also excited that the manual transmission would allow me to feel like I was driving a miniscule matchbox racecar.

The first day that I drove my new car to school, I successfully navigated the roundabout on 15th Avenue and came to a stop at the entrance to the WAC garage.

Still adjusting to the manual transmission, I got a bit of a slow start but managed to avoid killing the engine. As I gently pressed the accelerator, my front tires hit the first speed bump and my car stopped.

Deciding that I needed to give it a little more gas, I put a bit more pressure on the accelerator and popped, much like a popcorn kernel, over the first speed bump and halfway up the second before my left foot was jarred loose from its place on the clutch.

After rolling forward and back, bouncing off the first and second speed bumps, I came to a stop, and I realized that I had only made it over the first bump and I had accidentally killed the engine.

Flustered, I quickly started the car and tried again. I slowly let my foot off the clutch and pressed the gas, but nothing happened. The small puppy-growl of the engine that had been adorable mere days before was now a futile war cry against an insurmountable obstacle.

My car rocked forward and back and the engine revved ridiculously, but I couldn’t make it over the bumps.

My initial relief at being the only car at the intersection was suddenly punctuated by the realization that a member of facilities management had stopped pushing his cart and was transfixed on the situation.

Eventually, I managed to make it over the bumps and I learned that in order get in and out of the garages that contain half of the on-campus parking, I needed to have enough momentum to go over all three at once.

After that day, I thought that this was just my cross to bear—the tradeoff for only having to pay $12 to fill up my gas tank. Until now.

Belmont Facilities Management has decided to remove two of the three speed bumps and allow students and faculty to enter and exit the WAC and Inman garages without simulating an off-road experience.

While this opens the door for some dangerous situations as cars may now enter the garage at speeds in excess of 5 mph, tiny car owners all over campus are now breathing an elated sigh of relief.

This article was written by Hannah Garrett. Photo by Rebecca Arnold.

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