As the university continues to make changes to its lot procedures, many students are still finding it difficult to avoid parking violations.
Throughout campus, students leaving classes are returning to find a bright yellow envelope with a ticket tucked beneath the wiper blade on their car and secured in a wheel boot.
With ticket totals this semester at approximately $58,775, students like sophomore in public relations Rebecca Berlin see further need in improving the university’s parking procedures. Berlin is one of many students on campus who has felt discontent toward university parking.
“I had many parking tickets when I first brought a car to school,” said Berlin.
Feeling unable to address her concerns toward receiving numerous tickets, Berlin decided to just pay them. However, her decision to pay them had come too late.
“I finally went in after second semester to talk to someone and pay them and they told me they had already been paid,” said Berlin.
One of her financial scholarships had been deducted by the university in order to pay for her parking violations.
“In turn, I had owed the school more money,” said Berlin.
Currently, the university has 7,000 parking spaces for students. Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office Supervisor June Swanson says the most common violations are meter violations, restricted parking and unregistered vehicles.
Swanson also mentioned the number of citations had actually been reduced by 60 percent over the past six years.
“This was accomplished by systematically monitoring all parking lots for compliance, better information sharing, greater fairness and consistency in appeals,” said Swanson.
Recent changes in parking rules to lots 39 and 27 have decreased the number of student spaces. Lot 27, outside of FLITE library, now has faculty spaces as well as metered spaces, as where it used to be a two hour free lot. Due to an increase of customers at the Rock Café, lot 39 rules have changed to accommodate visitors to the dining hall seven days a week.
New media printing and publishing major Michael Fleming sees a need for further attention to be addressed toward providing sufficient parking. He said the construction of a parking structure may further reduce the number of parking violations on campus.
According to Director of Communications Marc Sheehan, the idea of constructing a parking structure is simply not economically possible.
“The priority for building projects is on educational facilities. Even an essential project such as the Optometry Building took many years to see through to fruition. The economics behind a parking structure would not make the project viable in the foreseeable future,” said Sheehan.
Sheehan says there is a difficult balance between having sufficient parking near classrooms and also making sure the campus has sufficient green space and is safe for pedestrians. He said the university will continue to address the needs of students living on campus and those who commute.
For students like senior Chris Fortney who do commute to class, the availability for parking spaces is a must. Fortney says finding available parking on campus even affects his decision to attend classes.
“If I can’t find a spot within five minutes of my class starting, I may choose to leave for that day,” said Fortney.
Though many students are hoping for changes in the future, Swanson says plans for a new student lot will not be available next year.
“The only new lot for next year will be lot 41, which will be for patient parking in front of the Allied Health Building. Once construction on the Optometry Building is complete, lot 33 will reopen for commuter parking,” said Swanson.
As talks of insufficient lot space and parking fees continues across campus, students hope to see changes come to light while it is still an issue for them. n