Parking Services issued more than 14,000 citations 2014-15

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December 4, 2015

11:27 AM

Tina Chang ’16 was in a rush to get to Earl Gregg Swem Library to meet for a group project when she parked in a faculty parking spot and received a ticket from the College of William and Mary’s Parking Services in October 2015. This ticket was among 14,313 citations issued on campus by Parking Services in the past two years.

Out of those 14,313 citations, 3,328 citations were related to reserved space violations and 23 percent of all citations remain unpaid. According to Parking Services data, the majority of reserved space violations were issued for cars parked in the Morton Hall, Zable Stadium and Yates Hall parking lots.

Reserved space violations, meaning that the individual parked outside of their assigned decal type, had the highest incidence rate. Parking Services reported 2,170 first-time offenses, 698 second-time offenses and 460 offenses that were the individual’s third or more offense. Out of the first-time offense fines, 12 percent remain unpaid, while eight percent of second or third offenses remain unpaid.

“People are purposefully parking out of their scheme, and I think that they’re aware that they’re doing that,” Horacio said. “They really don’t have an issue paying that citation.”

According to William and Mary Police Department Patrol Lieutenant Israel Palencia, WMPD would intervene if any illegally parked cars caused safety concerns but was not aware of any instances in the past two years where such an incident prevented WMPD from doing its work.

According to Director of Parking and Transportation Services Bill Horacio, fines for reserved space violations increase after the first offense and are normally paid at a faster rate.

“People are purposefully parking out of their scheme, and I think that they’re aware that they’re doing that,” Horacio said. “They really don’t have an issue paying that citation.”

Additionally, Parking Services takes photographs of reserved space violations to present as evidence to individuals who want to appeal their ticket.

For unpaid tickets, the College places an administrative hold on the student’s account, which can prevent them from registering for classes and receiving their diploma. Chang, a first-time offender, paid Parking Services a week after she received the citation.

“I heard that if I had holds that would keep me from graduating, so the $10 was not worth it,” Chang said.

Horacio noted that there a few different methods that Parking Services uses to ensure that fines are paid, but he said the administrative hold method is the most effective. After 30 days and two reminders are issued, Parking Services places a hold on the student’s account for the fine’s amount. Eventually, if the fine still remains unpaid, it will go to collections through the College of William and Mary’s Bursar’s office and a third-party contractor. If the individual continues to accumulate fines and the value of that debt reaches $350, a wheel lock will be placed on the vehicle. The wheel lock will only be removed after at least 50 percent of the debt is paid.

Special events citations had the second-highest incident rate with 915 citations issued total. The most common special events were for football and basketball games. Parking Services towed a total of 508 vehicles, which is considered a Level III citation with a $60 fine. However, certain vehicle models require the car to be unlocked before it can be towed, which means that Parking Services must use a towing service that is locksmith certified. For that extra cost, $25 is added to the ticket.

“I don’t think they should enforce parking rules at night because some people don’t feel comfortable walking around campus at night,” Patolia said. “I don’t think they’re very sensitive to that.”

Expired meter violations made up the third-highest citation incidence with 698 first-time offenses, 128 second-time offenses and 58 third-time offenses.

Of the total number of citations, 36 percent were warnings without any fines. Warnings for no decals were the highest category of citations with 3,828 issued. The majority of those warnings were issued in the Zable Stadium and William and Mary Hall parking lots and on Landrum Drive.

Only following a warning for no decal can individuals receive a citation for not having a decal or temporary pass. Over the last two years, 1,505 of those citations were issued. Those citations carry a $181 fine. Out of those, 29 percent remain unpaid. For every category of violations, this is the highest percentage of outstanding fines.

Soni Patolia ’17 received a warning for parking without a decal in the summer and then a ticket in October, after parking in the Earl Gregg Swem parking lot for 15 minutes during a rainstorm. Patolia said she will not pay her fine.

“I don’t think they should enforce parking rules at night because some people don’t feel comfortable walking around campus at night,” Patolia said. “I don’t think they’re very sensitive to that.”

Palencia said in cases where a complaint about illegal parking comes in directly to dispatch and Parking Services is unavailable, either due to late nights or the weekend, WMPD will issue tickets.

The second-most frequent type of warning issued was to individuals with improperly displayed decals, with 1,029 warnings issued over the course of the time period.

According to Horacio, individuals usually receive warnings for improperly displayed decals when they forget to place the decal on their car after purchasing it.

“That transaction is not complete until you either put the hangtag on the rearview mirror or remove the previous decal and put the one that you just purchased it its proper place,” Horacio said.

Additionally, Horacio said no changes to the values of the fines will be made until the Parking Advisory Committee meets to review this year’s data. According to him, fines have not been increased for the last couple of years.

“Tickets are written for one specific purpose and that is to change behavior,” Horacio said. “Just changing the dollar found on that amount doesn’t really change the behavior.”

Palencia said issuing tickets remains necessary to ensure that the limited parking spaces are used in the most efficient manner possible.

“On campus parking is a challenge,” Palencia said in an email. “The parking regulations laid out by Parking & Transportation provide the guidelines necessary to maximize the efficient and safe use of the parking space we do have.”

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About Author

Managing Editor Amelia Lucas '18 is an English and finance double major from Ashburn, VA. She previously served as Assoc. News Editor and News Editor. Follow @thxamelian on Twitter.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. Tripp
    December 14, 2015 at 8:38 PM

    Out of curiosity, how much does Parking Services charge for faculty/staff decals? I would also be interested to see if the number of spaces marked "faculty and staff only" is actually equal to the number of faculty and staff decals they have sold, as well as if the number of "day student" parking spaces measures up to the number of day student decals they've sold for this semester.

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