300 parking tickets written per day on campus

Parking+meters+outside+of+Rockwell+Hall+on+April+28%2C+2014.

Parking meters outside of Rockwell Hall on April 28, 2014.

Taylor Kerns

Kent State’s Parking Services writes about 300 parking tickets per day Mondays through Thursdays and about 100 on Fridays.

“I always tell people it sounds high, but you have to put it in perspective,” said Parking Services manager Larry Emling.

Tickets are given in all 70 student lots at all hours of the day, Emling said.

“It’s a ticket here, a ticket there in every lot,” he said.

Ticket fines are assessed based on the number of tickets a student has received in an academic year. The first two tickets are $15 each, the third through eighth are $35 and any additional tickets are $50. Tickets not paid within ten days are transferred to the university bursar’s office for collection.

Any vehicle with nine or more tickets, whether or not the tickets have been paid, will reach “frequent violator” status and can be towed or held by the use of a wheel clamp, or “booting.”

Emling said towing is usually a last resort.

“We really don’t tow from campus anymore,” he said. “Towing is very confrontational and time consuming.”

Booting, however, is a fairly common practice, Emling said.

“There might be some days (with) none (and) some days six or seven,” he said. “Say 15 cars a week on average, in the spring semester.”

A $50 fee must be paid to have the boot removed, in addition to the standard fee for any rule the vehicle was in violation of at the time it was booted.

In addition to parking fines, parking pass sales are a large source of revenue for Parking Services. One-semester student parking permits range from $30 for an evenings and weekends pass to $105 for passes to some of the more desirable parking locations on campus.

“Parking is an auxiliary, which means we have to be self-supporting. We get no money from the school (or) from the state,” Emling said. “Once we cover all our expenses in-house, any money at the end of the year is set aside to use for any kind of parking improvements.”

One such improvement is a multi-million dollar renovation of the Student Center visitor lot, set to take place this summer. Other construction, such as the ongoing Summit Street project, has also caused problems for student parking.

Samantha Kozak, manager of the Main Street FedEx Store, said students frequently avoid paying for parking altogether by parking in the lot designated for her customers.

“Customers complain the most about students parking in our parking lot,” she said. “We leave notices and everything, but we will tow if there’s enough complaints.”

Stahl’s Bakery shares the lot with FedEx, among other businesses in the plaza. The bakery’s owner, Cary James, said that while some of the adjacent businesses are quick to tow, she herself has never had a car removed from the lot. However, she doesn’t condone its use by non-customers.

“The parking lot’s nice and big and you don’t have to pay,” James said, “but we’ve had people camp out pretty much the whole entire day while they’re going to classes. It’s a problem.”

“I’ve had customers complain to me that they were circling around the parking lot a couple of times without being able to find a spot,” she said.

James admitted she understands students’ rationale in seeking alternatives to on-campus parking.

“I know how hard it is to find parking on campus, which is ridiculous considering how much you guys pay,” she said. “Through the nose.”

Several churches near campus, including Faith Lutheran Church of Kent and United Methodist Church of Kent, both on East Main Street, and Kent Presbyterian Church on East Summit Street, offer student parking passes to their lots.

Emling said Parking Services frequently receives complaints about the availability of parking as well as proximity to buildings.

“People would like spaces closer to where they’re going,” Emling said. “We do our best to get people as close as possible.”

Taylor Kerns is the transportation reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]