UWL parking tickets and their consequences

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UWL parking tickets and their consequences

UWL parking tickets. Photo by Liv Swanson.

UWL parking tickets. Photo by Liv Swanson.

Liv Swanson

UWL parking tickets. Photo by Liv Swanson.

Liv Swanson

Liv Swanson

UWL parking tickets. Photo by Liv Swanson.

Liv Swanson, Sports Reporter

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Parking tickets at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have sparked conversation amongst UWL’s student body. Hannah Boland, a freshman at UWL has received four parking tickets so far this semester, totaling $125.  

“My first ticket was from parking in the wrong parking lot the first week I moved here,” said Boland. “The second was for parking in an unmarked spot in the correct lot, and the last two were for parking on the street outside my dorm.” 

There are different violations that can result in parking tickets such as failure to have a permit, parking improperly, or not paying to park. 

“The most common one is parking for a short period of time somewhere they shouldn’t be,” said Victor Hill, the Director of Parking and Transportation Services at UWL.  “We have short term spaces available but, in a lot of cases, they can be full. That doesn’t excuse parking there though, and the reasoning behind that is even if the lot appears to be open, you’re still taking parking from someone else.” 

Hill explained that students who park in lots they don’t have permits for take spots away from students who paid to park.  

“If we don’t have a zero-tolerance approach then we are going to displace another student,” said Hill. “So when that happens, someone who has a permit might find themselves in a situation where they can’t find a spot.” 

“I actually have a permit,” said Boland. “My lot is on the other side of the football field and I live in Hutchison Hall. I got two tickets from having to run into my dorm and parking outside.” 

After a citation is given, the recipient has ten days to pay the fine before it doubles. After 45 days, registration can be suspended and holds may be put on student accounts resulting in an inability to register for classes.  

There is an option to appeal citations, if there is a valid excuse. Appeals can be made online or by calling the parking services. Excuses that would not be accepted in an appeal attempt include time constraints, parking without a permit or paying, failure to display a permit, lack of available space, parking in a lot with a failed pay station, not seeing or reading the signs, first-time offense or lack of funds.  

“The whole point of this, is we look at parking as not a punitive measure, even though some people perceive it like that. We look at it as preventive or protective because the goal is to protect the interest of the people that have permits for the lots,” said Hill. “So with that in mind if we are not enforcing it and taking a zero-tolerance approach to it, we are taking parking away from you or one of your classmates.” 

Parking permits are available for purchase at the beginning of the school year for $240 to students living on campus or $190 for commuters.  

“With permit holders it is understood it is part of the ordering process when you buy a permit you are checking a box that says that you are agreeing to follow our rules,” said Hill. “It’s kind of like a user agreement for software, whether anyone reads those or not is a different story.” 

There are different ways tickets can be paid, online or in person. 

“We accept multiple forms of payment,” said Hill. “You can walk into the office and pay it in person or you can do it online.  

While Boland covered the cost of each of her tickets before her ten days had expired, she was still left with questions.  

“For the amount of money I paid to cover the tickets, it would be nice to know where the money goes to,” said Boland.  

“Parking is an auxiliary and what that means is we get money through user fees,” said Hill. “Whenever you buy a permit or pay a ticket or really anything involving parking, that is what our budget is based on.” 

“I feel like the tickets are pretty pricey, especially in comparison to tickets given by the city of La Crosse,” said Boland. “I pay tuition to come here, I pay for parking permits, and now I have to pay for parking tickets on campus too.” 

Hill stated the money collected from citations goes towards covering any problems that arise in parking lots.  

“Since 2013, we have reduced our rates twice because we don’t have to overcharge for parking. The goal is to charge the least amount of money for the appropriate service,” said Hill. “We charge just enough so if something happens in the parking lots, like a pothole occurs, we can fill it or we have to paint or seal coat or resurface it.”  

“We want to be self-sustaining, so we are not taking money from your tuition, it comes solely from fees from service,” said Hill. “That is why we try to keep our permit fees as low as we can.” 

Hill compared paying for parking tickets to staying on top of school work.  

“Being accountable for a parking ticket is not much different than being accountable for an assignment. You’re making an agreement when you come here that you will follow your professor’s syllabus, and when you come to campus you‘re making an agreement with us that when you park on campus you’re following our policy,” said Hill. “As a student, you are subject to all the rules across campus. We are not motivated to make a profit, we are motivated to maintain our level of service.” 

“We are very aware that we are here as a part of the University, and even though we are not directly teaching you or your classmates we have a role in your success and we want to be sure we are helping out,” said Hill. “We are not using citations to rip people off, there’s no incentive in that. You are students here, our job is to help you get the tools you need to be successful.”  

For more information about parking and transportation, visit https://www.uwlax.edu/parking/ 

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