Parking tickets a’plenty

Jenna Staul

A parking services employee places a yellow ticket on a car with an expired meter on campus. Heather Stawicki | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Kent State’s commuters and on-campus drivers may have more on their minds than rising gas prices and road rage, especially if they ignore campus parking regulations.

Slightly more than 600 parking tickets were issued Monday and an estimated 2,500 will be issued during the first week, according to parking services.

If each ticket issued Monday was for a first- or second-time violation, parking services could rake in $9,000. The majority of first-time offenses, however, are forgiven.

On average, 300 to 400 tickets are given out daily during the fall semester, said Parking Services Manager Larry Emling.

There is a $15 fine for the first two parking tickets. After the third offense, fines are raised to $35. Violators receiving nine or more parking tickets are charged $50. A $5 late fee is applied if fines are overdue.

Those numbers weigh heavy on driver’s minds.

“It was very frustrating,” said Kelly Walden, senior computer science major, on her experience being ticketed on campus. “One time I just forgot to hang my tag. I was in the right lot. They had my plate number and they knew I was in the right lot.”

But Walden is quick to point out that parking services was helpful and willing to work with her.

“I think a lot of people are closed minded and think that they are just out to get you,” Walden said.

Though the ticketing process and patrols of university parking lots may serve as an annoyance to many campus drivers, parking services acts as a self-supporting entity of the university, and the revenue it generates through tickets and parking passes goes back to fund various projects within the department.

Junior accounting major William Botch has received two parking tickets in his two years commuting to campus, but he said he feels the fees he paid went to good use.

“They do need money to support parking services,” Botch said. “I know one time I locked my keys in my car, and within a couple of minutes they came and unlocked it for me.”

Parking services recently used some of the funds gained through its ticketing and parking passes to re-pave five lots over the summer and has plans to re-pave additional lots in the coming months, said Emling

“There are retention ponds, lighting, the curb and sidewalks,” said Emling of the process of constructing new parking lots. “There is more to the overall process than just asphalt.”

Other costs parking services funds with its revenue besides patrolling lots and distributing parking passes include the blue light safety phones found on campus, as well as snow removal, a cost that Emling says is hard to predict ahead of time.

“Three years ago we spent about $250,000 on snow removal alone,” Emling said.

Still, others feel that the parking services revenue could be put to better use.

“I’ve been ticketed in the past. It’s pretty much annoying. There’s not enough available parking,” said Steve Heard, junior accounting major. “They could definitely invest in some more parking lots.”

Education graduate student Stephanie Itzoe has received 15 tickets in her time commuting to campus and feels that the availability of spaces is a problem.

“I would be willing to pay more for a parking pass if they would provide more spaces,” Itzoe said.

Emling says the tickets parking services hands out are primarily meant to serve as a deterrent to illegal parking.

“But we are trying to become less dependent on fine income for our revenue,” Emling said.

Contact news correspondent Jenna Staul at [email protected].