Some students risk violations for parking convenience

Patrick Pfanner and Patrick Pfanner

Cold weather and long distances might seem like a reasonable excuse to park closer for classes.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t get students out of parking tickets.

More than 40,000 tickets were issued by University parking employees for cars parked illegally in unauthorized lots in 2012, and that number has stayed consistent during the past several years, Manager of Parking Services Aaron Kane said.

About 25 percent of all tickets issued were warnings, with the remaining citations requiring illegal parkers to pay a fine.

Most fines hover between $10 and $50, depending on the offense, Kane said.

Parking Services employees couldn’t provide the total number of tickets issued in 2012.

Generally, the interior parking lots, near the Education and Olscamp buildings for instance, produce a higher amount of citations since those are popular areas for classes, Parking Services Supervisor Bob Mason said.

“If people are going to park in violation, they will do it close to where they’re going,” Mason said.

Instead, workers attempt proactive approaches by trying to reduce the amount of parking tickets they issue, Kane said.

For instance, if a car needs to be moved, University employees will send a blast email informing students which parking lots have cars that need to be moved, Kane said.

“We make every effort to contact owners of the vehicles that need to be moved,” Kane said.

Sometimes, if cars block a construction project, Parking Services employees will take more drastic measures to remove cars, Kane said.

“Only as a last resort will we tow a vehicle so work may be completed,” Kane said.

Students like sophomore Morgan Palmucci think Parking Services should have built more spaces closer to campus so students aren’t preparing for a hiking trip when attending classes or heading back to residence halls.

“I believe three or four smaller parking lots on each side of campus would be better than one large one situated away from all the [residence halls],” Palmucci said.

Meanwhile, Parking Services continues to improve each lot’s actual structure.

The University has developed a yearly strategy that aims to improve the condition of every parking lot on campus.

In 2011, the University spent about $2 million to either reseal or rebuild parking lots, according to an email from Kane.

The University spent about $1.2 million to bolster several areas in 2012, including lots R and 5 which are located between Oak Grove Cemetery and the Tech Building, and are reserved for students with a commuter parking pass.