Parking on campus is seen as a problem by most drivers and can lead to an opportunity for improved asphalts. In the academic year of 2007 – 2008, a total of $85,740 was paid in parking tickets. This year, from June 2008 to the middle of March 2009, $68,870 was paid in parking tickets. This year a total of 14,872 parking tickets have been issued and 6,016 of those tickets have been paid. There are 8856 tickets that are outstanding. The value of these unpaid parking tickets is $78,060. This information was provided by Michael Bicking, Director of Public Safety Department, which includes being in charge of public safety and parking enforcement.
Last year $150,000 was spent on asphalt repairs; it was the amount remaining from the parking fund.
“The money that was allocated towards parking repairs last year was saved up for expenditure this year, on D Lot. Often times, the reconstruction cost of a parking lot exceeds the repair money allocated each year, forcing a savings plan where multiple years worth of allocations are spent on one parking lot’s repairs at a single time. The repairs to D lot will exceed $250,000, it is planned that the money allocated from both 2008 and 2009 will be spent this summer on repairs to this lot,” Bicking said.
Parking tickets are $10 for parking in wrong lot, no permit, etc. $20 for more serious violations such as parking fire lane, traffic lane, reserved spaces, etc. $40 for handicapped parking space violations. All offenses may result in towing of the vehicle.
Money collected from parking tickets and parking permits go into a parking fund. The fund is used for enforcement, to run public safety, it pays for two full and one part time enforcement and the parking attendant at parking garage buildings. From the fund, the money collected pays for envelopes and ticket forms and permits for the year. The money left over in the fund at the end of each year is used to repair the asphalts.
Money can be collected for the parking fund by selling parking permits. Roughly 4,000 permits are sold including faculty and staff permits. Permits cost $30 for the time period of Aug. 1st to July 31st. There are 4,400 parking spaces on campus which includes parking garages according to Bicking. On North campus there are about 2,800 parking spots and 1,700 parking spaces on South campus. This includes all parking spaces, handicapped, motorcycle, residence student, visitor, service and loading dock parking spaces. Each type of parking permit has a standard number of how many can be sold.
Bicking said that parking permits should be sold on a three to one ratio. Meaning three parking permits are sold for every one student. Employees and resident students’ permits are sold one and a half permits to one parking spot. Bicking said that West Chester parking enforcement does not necessary follow this, “but we’re well in our standards of parking.”
Bicking said that a lot of students and faculty members complain that there are not enough parking spaces open. He said that the lot near Matlack is usually open with parking spots. M-one lot, located next to Matlack parking garage, is usually half empty Bicking said. There are 206 spots for faculty, commuters, resident students, and first-year commuters.
Bicking said that there are 350 parking spots open any day and more spots are available on the weekends. He recommends that drivers should know which parking lots they are allowed to park in without receiving a ticket. He said that if people knew about other parking lots to park in that they could find a parking spot rather than drive around in one lot searching for a parking spot. Another matter can be convenience parking, Bicking said. If people park where they can rather than as close as they can, they should allow themselves enough time to walk to class or to where they are going to.
Many students have said that they drive around in a parking lot, circling it for a parking spot. Some have followed people walking to their cars to take their parking spot when they pull out of the spot.
Check the street signs to determine which permits are required for parking lots and to see when parking is free. Parking meters on campus are free after 5 p.m. during the weekday and all day during the weekend. For additional information on parking, go to the People’s building.
One possible solution for more parking is still being worked on to build a garage in F-lot; according to Bicking the surrounding neighbors have taken the matter to court to prevent building of the garage. Bicking said that parking garages are safe and have cameras in every spot.
Parking citation appeal forms can be found in the People’s building. They must be handed in personally or mailed in to the Public Safety Department within 10 calendar days of receiving a ticket. Appeals ask for the drivers and vehicle information, including the permit type one has. It then asks for the citation information, the violation recorded, the day the ticket was issued and the location of the incident.
Anyone with a ticket is allowed to appeal the violation within the 10 days for reasons other than “forgetfulness, parking for a short period of time, failure to display one’s permit, unavailability of parking spaces, or not seeing signs are unacceptable grounds for appeal.” according to the appeal form. The decision of the appeal can be appealed to the parking committee within 10 days of the first appeal.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a second-year student majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. She can be reached at RD655298@wcupa.edu.