In an effort to slow the influx of illegal parking on the River Campus, UR Parking and Transportation Services is looking into reinstating its policy of booting illegally parked cars after the fourth unpaid ticket. According to Vice President of Facilities and Services Richard Pifer, the transition would not be made until at least the beginning of next semester, and it would only be possible if UR receives an exemption from a 2-year-old city ordinance that currently bans booting vehicles parked on private property.
The Students’ Association Senate voted last week to support the idea – an important endorsement for an office that has previously had difficulty with student relations. The Senate is going to release a formal letter announcing its support.
SA Senator and former SA Vice President Janna Gewirtz said that while students might view booting in a negative light, it will help them in the long run. She said that since Parking stopped booting early last semester, parking officers have been giving out an increasingly large number of tickets. According to Gewirtz, students have no incentive to pay them or to stop parking illegally, so students and faculty who do pay for spots are pushed to a farther lot.
However, according to Gewirtz, booting provides an effective incentive to stop illegal parking.
“It’s a behavior modification technique,” she said. “Almost no one gets a second boot – it actually works.”
Gewirtz said that Parking’s other options – towing and graded tickets – are even less attractive than booting. Towing could damage cars, and graded tickets, a system in which each successive ticket is more expensive, is ineffective because students can still choose not to pay their tickets. Gewirtz said that many of UR’s peer institutions use these other methods.
The decision comes after an extended period of student discussion and feedback, which Gewirtz acknowledges has not been Parking’s strong point in the past.
“The thing about [Parking] is that they have such poor customer service,” Gewirtz said. “But they are working on that.”
Pifer said that the Parking office has been and will continue to be in contact with students, faculty, senior administration and members of the city of Rochester. The office has hired two students – junior Georgia Drew and sophomore Rona Schloss – to help with communication. According to Drew, they help provide the Parking office with student feedback through focus groups and other meetings. They also work to get information out to the student body – for instance, if the transition to booting is made next year.
“[Booting] will not start until we have had sufficient time to notify everyone that would be affected by the policy,” Pifer said.
Despite the potential objections students have to the implementation of booting, Drew agrees it is a good idea.
“At first I didn’t think it was the right choice – who wants to get their car towed?” she said. “But after realizing the repercussions of students who park illegally, [I changed my mind].”
Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.