Public Safety Cuts Parking Ticket Fee

By Emilie Munson

A reduction in parking ticket fees this year from $50 to $10 marked a concession of Public Safety to the demands of the Student Government Association (SGA).

In February 2013, Public Safety raised the price of a parking ticket from $10, the cost that has been imposed for the past 10 years, to $50, in an effort to deter students from violating parking regulations and to minimize the discrepancy between the cost of a parking ticket and the cost of towing, which costs $175. In considering the SGA’s request to reverse the raised price of parking tickets, Public Safety found that the increased fee did not result in a significant decrease in the number of parking violations.

As a result, Public Safety decided to compromise with the SGA, returning to a $10 general fine for parking violations, but instating a $25 fine for illegal parking in spaces reserved for Faculty and Staff.

“We realized that we wanted to meet [the SGA] halfway because we’re not about making money,” Associate Dean of the College and Director of Public Safety Lisa Burchard said. “We really just want people to park where they need to park and understand the rules.”

Ticketing students for parking violations is necessary because, at times, improperly parked cars can disrupt the regular functions of the College by inhibiting snow plowing and preventing faculty from finding parking. The College promises that faculty members are given parking spaces within a five to seven minute walk to the academic building in which they teach.

“In order for us to complete the more important aspects of our work, we need parking to work,” Burchard said.

Parking during the 2013-2014 academic year has been further complicated by the construction of the new field house, which removed parking spaces previously reserved for students.

As a result, some students have resorted to driving less.

“I don’t drive around campus because there are very few places to park, and it’s just not practical to drive,” Luke Carpinello ’16 said.

The number of parking tickets issued during September 2013 is not significantly different from tickets issued in September 2012, however, with 391 tickets issued in 2013 and 49 in 2012, with violations occurring primarily in the same areas.

Burchard justified the peripheral locations and limited the number of student parking lots by citing the College campus as “a pedestrian campus.” Public Safety has added additional spaces in the Ridgeline parking area to compensate for the reduction in student parking at the athletic complex. Burchard noted that due to confusion and concerns surrounding parking spaces, Public Safety may conduct its first major evaluation of on-campus parking in 12 years.

Some students believe that changing the parking system would be the best way to reduce the number of parking regulations and violations.

“Students should be able to park freely as long as they are reasonable and obtain the proper permits for long term parking,” Leila Schochet ’16 said.

SGA President Rachel Liddell ’15 believes that systematic change to the parking policy could make a difference, outlining plans to work with Public Safety to improve parking in the coming months with the goal of reassessing the parking lots for designated faculty and staff and proposing that students be billed directly for tickets, instead of adding tickets on to the annual tuition bill.

One of Liddell’s primary goals is to clarify the gray areas surrounding appropriate student parking locations.

“I want people to feel they aren’t victims of a system,” Liddell said, adding that students should appreciate the privilege to have a car on campus that the College grants them.

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