The parking issues series
BY KENDRA HICKS
(Webster Groves, March 15, 2011) Travis Kelly, a junior media communications major, has had more problems with Public Safety in one semester than most students have in a year.
“It’s ridiculous,” Kelly said. “I’ve received tickets for not having my parking pass properly displayed.”
Kelly, who doesn’t have a parking pass this semester, and who had his car booted three times for not having a parking pass and parking in visitor parking, reflects two of the biggest problems students complain about on campus — parking and the price of parking passes.
Parking has always been a concern, but now, because of the new school of business and technology construction, two of Webster’s biggest parking lots have been eliminated and two lots are dedicated to Repertory theater patrons Tuesday through Friday after 6 p.m. Public safety, however, said construction has not increased the amount of tickets given.
“As to whether more tickets are written due to construction … in general, I would say no,” said Dan Pesold, director of Public safety.
Pesold said students who park illegally after three tickets are considered repeat offenders.
“After that, you are classified as a persistent offender and will be booted for the next violation,” Pesold said.
Parking fines or any type of balance on student accounts have hindered many students from a major part of graduation.
“We require students to pay any outstanding balance in full prior to release of a diploma and/or an official transcript,” said Vickie Fredrick, associate vice president for finance.
Fredrick said students with a balance on their account who are about to graduate are sent a letter in the mail a month before graduation. Closer to the date, the business office will try to call the student.
“Our goal is to ensure that all our students are aware of the policy and to minimize the number of students that are not able to collect their degree at the time of graduation,” Fredrick said.
Public Safety would not confirm an average amount of tickets written each week to offenders.
Public safety has sold 4,318 parking passes since they went on sale late last semester up until Feb. 21. Public Safety declined to reveal the number of passes sold the same period of time last year.
John Kelly from Terry’s Towing said the school gives enough warnings to students.
“It’s not fair to boot a car that doesn’t need to be booted,” John Kelly said. “We just pick them up.”
He said they picked up three to four cars from October to December 2010 compared to the one to two cars this semester.
“Moving in day at the dorms is when we tow the most cars,” John Kelly said “We pick up three to four cars in a day total.”
John Kelly said he doesn’t know why students park illegally in the parking lots, but he does have two words of advice.
“Park legally,” he said.
Some students who have purchased a parking pass feel that it’s not worth it.
Chris Prestemon, a senior media communication major, purchased a parking pass this semester and has received two parking tickets totaling $60 dollars for not having his parking pass properly displayed.
“It doesn’t seem worth it if you can only park in the most secluded spaces on campus,” Prestemon said.
Prestemon, who has not paid his parking fines, thinks that an increase of students receiving parking tickets could be caused by all the construction on campus.
“What bothers me most is when lots are shut down at night because of plays the Rep is putting on,” Prestemon said. “They close off certain lots for ‘paying’ customers, but I pay a lot to park there.”