Students may return to the River Campus from this year’s spring break to an old familiar sight: bright yellow boots affixed to illegally parked cars.

The change in policy, announced this Monday at a Students’ Association Senate meeting by SA President and senior Tyler Socash, will return to the River Campus after a nearly two-year hiatus in the practice.

In September 2007, Parking and Transportation Services had been booting cars in violation of a Rochester City ordinance passed the previous year, which banned their use on private property.

However, UR applied for a writ of exemption from the ordinance, which was recently granted by the city, thus clearing the way for the practice to return.

Last May, the SA Senate voted to support the reinstatement of booting, citing the increase in illegal parking and the accumulation and unenforceability of fines. Prior to the vote, Parking organized focus groups with student government leaders and other undergraduates to look into the issue, particularly with the SA Projects and Services Committee.

The SA determined that in order for Parking to function efficiently, some level of enforcement had to be added, and booting appeared as a more favorable alternative to having cars towed.

Co-chair of the Projects and Services Committee and junior Eric Weissmann explained that, over the last 18 months, some students have opted not to purchase parking permits despite occupying spaces on campus. Some of those who did buy permits were parking in unassigned lots accruing unpaid tickets and preventing rule-abiding drivers from accessing their spaces.

While those students whose cars are registered with Parking can be held accountable for not paying their fines, those that are not registered can currently amass tickets without much fear of reprise. Consequently, abuse of available parking has been on the rise.
‘It is necessary to reinstate booting in order to maintain the control required to provide parking spaces for those who pay for them,” Socash said on Wednesday. ‘The hope is that with booting reinstated, people will be more likely to follow the rules.”

The new policy states that if a driver has three unpaid parking tickets none of which are being appealed by the student then at the same time a fourth ticket is distributed, a boot will be placed on the car, and the driver will have to remove it at his or her expense.
Drivers will not be given a clean slate when the new policy is implemented any outstanding tickets will be counted toward the total required for booting. Additionally, Todd Lot, which is reserved for faculty, will be an automatic boot zone during restricted hours, regardless of a driver’s ticket history.

The official start date for the new policy likely to be immediately after spring break has not been finalized by Parking. Director of Parking Glen Sicard was unavailable for comment.

However, Socash emphasized that the SA and Parking will engage in an active information campaign to make students aware of the change before it takes place, possibly through Currents and the Weekly Buzz, as well as school wide emails, which will include a link for students to check unpaid tickets.
‘We want to make sure no one is surprised,” he said.

David LeBlanc, a KEY Scholar who drives a car, commented o the booting policy.
‘If somebody parks illegally, it seems kind of silly to boot their vehicle and restrain it in that spot,” he said. ‘I understand why they have to do it, and I would say it’s a fair thing, but as a student I don’t like it very much.”

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