The warning period is over

Marvin Holman

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Starting today, after a week of warnings, students must now park in their designated areas or risk paying a fine.According to Bob Fitzgerald, director of Parking Services, students parking in faculty and staff lots, reserved spots in front of residence halls and commuter student areas without the proper permit will pay fines ranging from $30 to $50.

“If a student parks in the faculty/staff lots, they are going to get a ticket,” Fitzgerald said. “The resident hall lots are also enforced, and those lots are the Corbin, Lincoln and Washington, Higgins and Thompson lots. You must have a restricted permit to park there.”

During last week, Parking Services gave out tickets that could be voided if a person buys a permit.

“What we did last weekend was hang paper on cars that were illegally parked, where they were not the computerized ones because of time and money, and it stated that the car is illegally parked and should be paid by such-and-such a date,” Fitzgerald said. “On a lot of these tickets, like if a student gets a ticket for not having his WIU registration for a commuter spot and doesn’t have a permit, (the student) can buy a permit and the ticket will be essentially voided; so it’s kind of like a warning.”

Thanks to changes in the schedule, Fitzgerald said that until Sept. 8, students without a parking permit can park in the Q-Lots with no trouble from the parking service. After that, students must have a permit to park or pay a $42 fine. The fine for parking in a reserved area is $35 and it could be $55 if students don’t have a permit.

“Normally there’s a week before Labor Day and it gives students that aren’t going to keep their cars here a three-day weekend to take their cars home. This year is two weeks before Labor Day and most are taking advantage of this, so hopefully those students will take their cars home so students will have more room to park,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also suggests to students who want to unload things in front of a residence hall to just call Parking Services before they unload. “We give them 30 minutes to load and unload, but they need to call us or they will get a $30 ticket,” Fitzgerald said. “A lot of students get tickets, and all they needed to do was to call and it won’t be a problem as long as it’s done within the 30-minute time limit.”

The fines and payment for the parking permits go to improvements in campus parking areas, as Parking Services gets no funding from the state.

“The state doesn’t give us any money like they do with classroom buildings, so the only money we get are from fines and permits, and that goes to the maintenance and replacement of parking meters,” Fitzgerald said.

For most students, the parking situation at residence halls like Higgins is a case of first-come, first-serve.

“There are only 98 parking spots in front of Higgins and there are almost 900 residents, and if I say half of them drive, then about one in four would have a permit,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t control the contract numbers. We just take the lowest housing contract number and if there are 98 spots, then we sell 98 spots.

“I know some seniors or juniors that didn’t get them. I got a call from a father yesterday about his daughter and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t get a permit,” Fitzgerald added. “I told him that she lived on campus for two years, moved away from campus for a year and now she moves back and with her housing number, she goes to the bottom of the pile behind 400 students from Higgins that have lower contract numbers, and some of those will get a space. It would be nice to have everyone park, but we just can’t do it.”

Another problem for some students is paying the full $32 fee for the year even though they might attend school for one semester. Fitzgerald said that the system would be confusing if there were any changes.

“We basically have one permit for students, and I think that if we get into more difficulties then we would have to have two permits for students, and we’re trying to make the system easier,” Fitzgerald said.

“I know that some students might have to pay more for one semester, but it gives us additional paperwork to make two permits for the year and makes it more confusing to students and gives more headaches to the system,” Fitzgerald added. “Then what do you do when you have the student that says, ‘I’m only taking one class this semester and I have to pay $16 or $32 and here’s this guy who’s taking five classes.’ So I don’t want to get into a prorated thing based on how many hours you would have, because it would be a nightmare for us.”

Fines for having no registration will be $22. There is a $30 fine for parking in a no-parking zone, a $20 fine for parking in a restricted section, a $50 fine for parking in a fire-access area and a $35 fine for parking in a reserved space or lot.

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