Red, green, blue, purple, or yellow – Miami University’s color-coded parking system dictates which areas of campus are available to who during certain times, with consequences for drivers who disregard those regulations.
“We have a considerable number of students (who) park on campus, quite often parking in areas where they are not allowed to park and they get a ticket for that,” said Richard Keppler, director of parking and transportation.
According to Keppler, it is expected that by the end of the 2006-07 academic year, 40,000 parking tickets will be issued.
“Roughly 25,000 of those tickets will be issued to people who parked in a lot during the day without the right permit,” Keppler said.
Parking services issued 23 percent fewer tickets to date as of March 30, compared to the 2005-06 academic year, with estimated revenue of about $490,000 compared to $706,110 in 2005-06.
Keppler believes the decline in parking violations is due to drivers’ compliance with restrictions.
“We’ve actually been pretty successful in ensuring that somebody will get a ticket if they park in violation in a lot where they’re not supposed to be, and that’s well known,” Keppler said.
Drivers who do get citations can petition them by submitting written appeals to two appeal committees, one for students and another for faculty and staff, using an application provided at the parking services office or Web site. Through the appeals process, tickets are either upheld, dismissed or fines waived.
“When dismissing a ticket, the committee is saying that the student is not responsible for the ticket and waiving the fine means that the student is responsible for the ticket, but they will waive the fine this time,” Keppler said.
According to Keppler, the faculty and staff appeals committee operates independently from parking services. Students are included in the student appeals committee, where the majority of appeals are reviewed.
As of March 30, 249 of the 748 total tickets appealed to both committees were either waived or dismissed, Keppler said.
According to Keppler, drivers with a parking permit through the university are held responsible for their fines through their bursar, preventing students from graduating or registering for classes until the bills have been paid.
With a system that prioritizes faculty and staff parking, the availability of space near central campus, where students say they need it the most, is limited.
“There’s actually very little parking near the center of campus that is available to students,” Keppler said. “Most of the parking is allotted to faculty and staff during the day.”
As the home of many student organizations, Greek life, and the Office of International Education, MacMillan Hall has many of the parking problems that are seen throughout central campus.
Keppler believes these problems may be alleviated with the implementation of pay-as-you-go parking.
“I think that putting in paid parking set at a rate that will make sure there are some parking always available during the day is one solution,” he said.
Meanwhile, Keppler said the university is trying to address these problems by constructing parking facilities in strategic places in terms of the campus master plan, such as the facility behind the School of Engineering and Applied Science building.
Junior Amos Park believes more central parking lots, such as the North quad garage being built near the old Goggin Arena, would be helpful in easing students’ parking frustrations.
“I think that location would really help some of the problems we have with parking, especially because there’s not a lot of parking around the central part of campus where Bishop Woods is,” Park said.
Scheduled to be completed by summer or fall of 2008, the North quad garage will offer the same four services as the Campus Avenue garage, with a total of 675 available spaces upon completion. Once completed, the garage will offer hourly and daily parking without requiring a university permit. Those students with a permit can apply for all-day or overnight parking for a monthly fee.
According to Keppler, sales of parking privileges for the Campus Avenue garage have been considerably lower than expected. Only 19 daytime parking vouchers and 13 overnight parking passes have been sold since becoming available in late February.
Keppler credits the warm weather as the reason for low overnight parking sales, which were expected to be popular among students living in residence halls.
“Students will be more interested in having overnight parking when the weather is cold or having covered parking when there’s snow, so I anticipate we’ll sell greater number of those passes next year,” he said.
Keppler said the garage’s most popular service is hourly parking, with more than 19,000 of the 25,000 cars using the hourly service since the garage opened in March 2006.
“What we’re seeing in terms of hourly parking are people who don’t park here everyday,” Keppler said. “They want to come in for a couple hours a week and go, and for them $25 a month is not worth it.”
According to Keppler, those people have found a lower cost alternative by parking on Campus Avenue, where parking permits are not required and hourly rates are 25 cents. This is half of the 50-cent hourly rate in the garage, which was recently reduced in February from its previous $1 price.
Senior Jeremy Cavendish prefers parking on the street versus in the garage.
After using the hourly parking, Cavendish said he prefers paying the city meters on Campus Avenue, saying the garage is too expensive for the limited hours he is on campus for class.
“The thing with parking garages is if you go over the hour, they round up to the next hour,” Cavendish said. “With meters, you can put in money for an hour and 10 minutes and you’re set.”
Despite one of the largest incoming groups of first-year students next year, Keppler does not believe there will be more need for parking.
“Because they are not expanding the number of residence halls, I really don’t see a dramatic increase in the number of cars that students who live on campus will bring back to campus,” he said.