Decrease in tickets linked to high fines

Dave Yochum

Campus parking violations are down 22 percent compared to the Spring 2005 academic term.

Approximately 13,300 violations have been written by Parking Services enforcement this spring. By early March last year, 15,700 tickets had been distributed. Parking Services representatives say there are a number of reasons for the 2,400 ticket difference, including the overall decline in Kent State student enrollment and a more aggressive parking enforcement plan. However, one of the biggest factors contributing to low ticket numbers has been the higher cost of parking fines.

The price of illegal parking was increased last July, yet Parking Services assistant manager Larry Emling said students are continuing to find out how expensive parking violations can be – particularly after they get more than two tickets.

“We’re still seeing a fair number of students at the $35 fine level, but people are consciously deciding they can’t afford parking illegally anymore,” Emling explained. “A year ago the first five tickets were $10 each, now those five tickets will run you $135.”

Drivers are required to pay a fine of $15 for their first and second parking violations. After two violations, the fine jumps to $35 for each additional ticket. Once a person has been ticketed eight times, the cost of any parking violation skyrockets to a minimum of $50.

Although the decrease in parking violations appears to be good news, Parking Services is funded entirely through permit fees and fines. A drop in ticket counts could mean a drop in income, but the combination of higher fines and permit prices have helped to offset the decrease in tickets.

“We want the violations to be down, but at the same time we still need revenue,” enforcement supervisor Loretta Nichols said. “Freshmen are parking illegally in the S-lots and there have been problems with the areas near White Hall (R-16) and the Kent Auditorium (R-15).”

Even with parking and congestion issues at the R-16 and R-15 lots, violations and vehicle towing have been down since Fall 2005. Warning and tow tags have helped decrease the number of frequent parking violators.

Drivers with four or more unpaid violations and those under “frequent violator status” (receiving nine or more tickets) could receive a red tag on their vehicle. Red tags warn that a car is on Parking Services’ “hot list,” according to Parking Services’ Web site. Green tags warn of a repeated lot violation and possible tow, while a pink tag warns the vehicle could be towed at any time.

For more information on ticket fines, warning tags and tow tag descriptions, visit the Parking Services Web site at http://www.kent.edu/parking/tickets.

Contact transportation reporter Dave Yochum at [email protected]