More than just tickets and towing

David Ranucci

Parking Services also offers assistance with car problems, more

Parking Services may be the department that gives students tickets and boots their cars when they violate parking rules, but it also offers a motorist assistance program that many students are unaware of.

“There are a variety of services,” said Larry Emling, manager of Parking Services.

In addition to regulating parking and selling parking permits, Parking Services can jump-start cars with battery problems, inflate tires, transport students who are out of gas to nearby gas stations and help students locked out of their cars get back in, Emling said.

Emling said Parking Services gets close to 2,000 calls every year from motorists seeking assistance.

Space problems

Senior psychology major Megan Elting said she got a C lot pass her first year on campus and said there were never any spaces for her.

Elting said she thought the pass was a waste of money and began using meters, but she received hundreds of dollars in fines from expired meters. She now parks at a friend’s house and walks to campus. She said she thinks there should be more parking spaces and that Parking Services charges too much for tickets.

Emling noted, however, if people take up spots they don’t have a valid permit for and Parking Services does nothing about it, people who do have permits will have nowhere to park.

“We’re providing a service to people who have a valid permit to that lot,” Emling said.

Old problems for new students

Parking Services will waive the first ticket each car receives, provided it is appealed and is not a flagrant violation such as parking in a fire lane or in a handicapped spot.

Emling said new students often aren’t aware of the parking regulations, and his department takes the first ticket students receive as an opportunity to show them how campus parking lots operate.

“On weekends, the myth is that you can park anywhere you want – that’s not the case,” Emling said, adding that parking is enforced all year at all times.

Emling said many people get the wrong information through hearsay, and some freshmen don’t even know they need a permit.

Another problem for freshmen is stolen permits. Every semester 15 to 25 parking permits are stolen or lost, Emling said.

If a student loses his or her parking permit or it is stolen, Emling said to call Parking Services at (330) 672- 4432 to report it. Students will be given a replacement permit, and Parking Services will begin searching for the lost or stolen permit.

Using a stolen permit will result in a $100 fine, and Parking Services will put a boot on the car, immobilizing it until the fine is paid, parking enforcement supervisor Loretta Nichols said.

“We very rarely tow cars,” Nichols said. “We usually boot it.”

Nichols said cars can also be booted if they are on a tow list. If a car has four or more unpaid tickets or nine or more tickets overall, it can be added to the tow list.

Parking shenanigans

Parking tickets range from $15 for the first two violations to $50 for nine or more, and they can be appealed though Parking Services’ Web site: Appealing a ticket does not mean the challenge will be successful.

“People come up with some dandy stories,” Nichols said. “People tell you that their grandmother died three or four times.”

Nichols said another person claimed that each time Parking Services gave her a ticket, the attendant went into her car and changed the radio station.

More common excuses include people saying someone borrowed their car or they were only parked illegally for a moment. Emling said that it does not matter who is driving a car – the car’s owner is responsible for it.

Senior psychology major Dave Bellington said if students go into Parking Services and make a case for themselves, Parking Services tends to drop the ticket.

If you want to know, ask

Emling and Nichols stress that if there is something students are unclear about or if they have any concerns, they should call Parking Services, talk to a supervisor and ask early on to avoid problems.

Contact transportation reporter David Ranucci at [email protected].