Ludwell Apartment residents see higher rates of tickets along Rolfe Road

0
165
212 tickets have been issued since 2016 in the area surrounding Ludwell Apartments and on Rolfe Rd. NIA KITCHIN / THE FLAT HAT

Student parking around Ludwell Apartments at the College of William and Mary have seen a 356 percent increase in the number of parking tickets issued by William and Mary Parking Services, William and Mary Police Department and the Williamsburg Police Department from 2016 to 2018.

Statistics from WMPS and statistics retrieved through a Freedom of Information Act from WPD show that in 2016, WMPS, WMPD and WPD gave out 25 tickets in their respective jurisdictions around Ludwell and Rolfe Road, but in 2017, that number rose to 73 tickets. As of October 19, the number for tickets given out in 2018 is 114. From 2016 to 2018, WMPS and WMPD gave out 53 tickets while WPD gave out 159 tickets.

Between 2016 and 2018, the month of October has seen the most tickets, with 46 out of 159 tickets given during that month. The most popular time tickets are given out is 11 a.m., and the average price of a ticket is $25.

WMPS serves as the main enforcement of parking violations on campus. According to director of parking and transportation services Bill Horacio, when WMPS is not on duty, WMPD officers may give tickets as they go on security rounds and come across violations.

Horacio said that in Ludwell’s case, WMPS has jurisdiction over the curbside around the apartments and the parking complex within the apartments. Williamsburg Police Department maintains the right side of Rolfe Road for the City’s residential parking, where only cars marked with black resident decals can park. Illegally parking in this area can incur $25 for one’s first offense, where second and third offenses can merit a ticket of $50 and $75, respectively.

While WMPS only has jurisdiction over Ludwell’s curbside and complex, there are violations that WMPS cannot address, including fire hydrant violations, according to Horacio. In these instances, a member of law enforcement, such as WMPD or WPD, addresses these violations instead.

“[There are] certain violations that go beyond W&M Parking Rules & Regulations that constitute equally a violation of VA law may be cited by any sworn law enforcement agent even if out of their normal jurisdiction,” Horacio said in an email. “So for example a firelane violation, a handicapped violation, could be cited by the city police even on our property and those citations would be returnable in the city and county court system not on campus.”

As of Oct. 19, drivers parked in Ludwell have already been issued 27 tickets by WMPS and WMPD, while 45 tickets have been issued by WPD. In the entirety of the fall 2017 semester, WMPS and WMPD issued 8 tickets while the City issued 23 tickets.

Kelsey Creech ’19 said she gets back to Ludwell around 10:00 p.m. after dance team practice. One time when she received a ticket she could not find parking after returning from dance practice. She decided to park near a no parking zone, where part of her car was in between that zone and the zone in which students are allowed to park.

Creech, who had an 8 a.m. class the next day, said she went to move her car before her class but she had already been ticketed earlier in the morning for parking in a no parking zone and parking near a fire hydrant, which is a firelane violation.

According to Creech, the total cost of the citation amounted to $20. Creech said that she risks getting a ticket in order to park closer to her dorm if she is travelling alone.

Sometimes if I have other people with me, I’ll park in the resident space of that parking garage by Adair. I don’t like to park far away from where I live when I’m by myself, because usually when I get back it’s nighttime.

“Most of the other residential areas are kind of far away,” Creech said. “Sometimes if I have other people with me, I’ll park in the resident space of that parking garage by Adair. I don’t like to park far away from where I live when I’m by myself, because usually when I get back it’s nighttime. I don’t like to walk across campus by myself at night. … I’d rather work with the ticket.”

Horacio said walking back to Ludwell from Kaplan Arena or other parking areas on campus is not the only option, and students can park in those areas and use bikes, WATA and Campus Escort to return to Ludwell.

“[Students are] seeing them as off-putting options, but the reason why they exist is to do exactly that — to facilitate that transition from that remote parking location to your final destination,” Horacio said.

According to Horacio, WATA’s system used to run until 1 a.m. before its hours were reduced over the past three years as no passengers were on late at night. Horacio said that Ludwell has always been a part of WATA’s route and that WATA took passengers from Kaplan to Ludwell even in its later hours.

“So, if you’re not taking advantage of the complementary transportation system, then eventually, in order to save dollars and to prevent from having to increase rates for all of the other costs like fuel and maintenance and things go up, we have to cut back down on the operational hours,” Horacio said. “The first hours we would eliminate would be the ones with the least, or in this case, no ridership.”

Matthew Parciak ’19 said while he has never received a ticket while he has lived at Ludwell, he has parked elsewhere on campus when he has been unable to find parking. Parciak, who has lived at Ludwell during both his sophomore and senior years, said he did not have as much of an issue with parking during his first year at Ludwell.

“… I also lived in Ludwell my sophomore year, and there was never an issue with parking at all,” Parciak said. “This year, you come back late at all, any night during the week, it’s so difficult to find parking. A lot of times I’ve come back where its 1 a.m. or something … and the closest resident spot is in DuPont and then I have to walk all the way back from there to Ludwell at 1, 1:30 in the morning, which is not fun.”

Parciak said that he has encountered problems with parking space most on the weekends, which he thinks arise from non-Ludwell party guests dropping off their cars and poorly parallel parking.

“I’d say it’s mainly Thursday through Saturday nights,” Parciak said. “I think a lot of people come to Ludwell Apartments for people to host before they go out and people leave their car here and they’re not always people who live here even though they have a resident sticker. … People are also really bad at parallel parking — they take two spots.”

One of the issues facing Ludwell is that it will not expand, Horacio said.

The area is limited to 156 spaces and it’s [going to] serve the first 156 customers that come in on a [first-come, first-serve] basis. And then everybody else after that has to go to an alternate location.

“The problem is the area will never grow,” Horacio said. “The area is limited to 156 spaces and it’s [going to] serve the first 156 customers that come in on a [first-come, first-serve] basis. And then everybody else after that has to go to an alternate location.”

Horacio said Ludwell currently houses 226 residents, according to information from Residence Life. Of those 226 residents, 161 residents have decals.

“Currently, if every single person … who is a resident at Ludwell who currently has a car and bought a resident decal were to park there, we’d only have a net difference of [five] — there are [five] more cars than there are spaces at Ludwell,” Horacio said.

Ludwell Community Council Treasurer Connie Lee ’19, who said she received two tickets in October from the WMPD for no parking and fire hydrant violations totaling $20, has worked with community council to address Ludwell’s parking availability. She and other community council members met with Horacio to discuss parking at Ludwell. During this meeting, one alternative option Horacio suggested was the reinstatement of a Ludwell-only decal, which Parking Services used to offer students prior to 2008.

Lee said she brought up the exclusive decal during community meetings but currently does not see the option being reinstated for the current academic year.

“In both exec and general meetings, we discussed this option and people noted that this is not a desirable option because it takes away parking options across campus,” Lee said in an email. “This would also not be feasible this year because Parking Services oversold parking passes this year by 5 passes. This means that every night, 5 people (give or take) will not be able to find a parking spot in Ludwell. Nonetheless, as a community council, we would like to bring up this option again to residents beyond meetings (because our meeting attendance tends to be low).”

According to Horacio, potential issues with the Ludwell-only pass include its ability to limit who gets a pass and when, and its non-applicability to other residential areas.

“There would be a limited number of those [passes],” Horacio said. “But they would also then lose the ability to drive to other locations on campus, [and] it would be almost equivalent of having a reserved space all of the time, because there would be only 156 decals in circulation, there’s only 156 spaces, and we would not sell another [decal]. … So now where does that car go? It’s the same issue. It’s under control in terms of limiting rather than enabling.”

Horacio said that Parking Services has never had a waitlist and has never had to turn away drivers who are eligible to bring a vehicle who have wanted to purchase a decal.

“We know we have the space, but we also advise them clearly, ‘The numbers are high, the density is high, our lots are full most of the time, so you may not find a space right where you live all of the time, but there will be a space on campus, just understand that at certain times you’re [going to] incur a walk, you’re [going to] incur some other form of transportation to get back and forth,’” Horacio said. “If you still make the purchase of the decal at that point, then to complain about the availability of parking afterwards, it defeats the purpose.”

Lee said she believes Ludwell’s limited parking is reflective of a lack of availability of parking elsewhere on campus. Statistics provided by Horacio indicate that at least four out of five zones are above capacity most of the time, as parking industry standards mark a parking lot as full when 85 percent of the lot is occupied, with lot layouts and design as factors in determining remaining parking availability. Currently, residential parking at the College falls short of full capacity.

“On campus we have seen occupancy rates of 93% – 95% in the Faculty & Staff areas within 50-100 yards of major epicenters of activity,” Horacio said in an email. “Resident Parking being on the perimeter and closer to the residential zones of campus remains at 78% – 80% occupied. Commuter parking is also high on the south side off campus near School of Business measuring 96%-98% during the peak hours of 8:30 am to 4:45 pm (Mon – Thu) and drops to 82% on Fridays. North side of campus near the Bryan complex is at steadily at 84% with Harrison Ave experiencing the highest underutilization rate, with over 50% of the spaces open all day.”

According to Horacio, limited parking is one result of the desire to preserve the College’s historical environment and prioritize other additions.

“The expectation is that, ‘William and Mary will make room for me,’ or, ‘You owe me room. You owe me somewhere to park my car.’ And that’s not necessarily true,” Horacio said. “Again, we’re working with a finite space, and while we go to great lengths to constantly look for where we can add space, parking is not one of the desirable additions to the campus environment. Anybody who has an appreciation for the campus landscape, the age of the campus [and] its historic value would easily come to the conclusion that taking away beautiful space or available space just to build a parking lot is not necessarily the best use of that space or the most desirable use.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the increase in parking tickets issued on Rolfe Road was 3.56 percent. In fact, it is 356 percent.