I don’t know if I’m simply more aware of instances of ticketing or if it is actually happening more often, but our parking system seems to be cracking down harder this year than in the past. We’ve only been in school for less than three full months, but I’ve seen a great number of tickets issued and have personally known a few people who have gotten boots on their cars. This may simply be the opinion of a naive student who doesn’t quite understand how the system works, but I feel that there needs be a much laxer policy surrounding parking on UR property.

Tuition at the University of Rochester costs about $48,290, with the estimated cost of attendance at $65,346. Yes, this is a very high number, but that is a discussion for a different time. The argument here is that, with all of these charges and fees, maybe a stipulation for parking should be included in those costs, too. We are paying so much for school; should we really have to take another $500 out of our budget to get to the education we’ve paid for?  Obviously, this holds significantly less true for people who live on campus, but go even as far as the Riverview housing, and driving to campus becomes a much more attractive option in the winter months, especially when the bus has a tendency to run late. For commuter students the argument holds even truer. If a student lives off campus but close by, they do have the option to walk to campus or take a bus, if one is available in their area. Admittedly, the University has done a lot to grow the reach of the bus system, but between staying on schedule and having a shuttle at a helpful time, it isn’t perfect. Many commuter students end up purchasing a parking pass for the lot dedicated to commuters, Park Lot. How is this helpful to students who already live under two miles from campus? Obviously, that isn’t the distance between Park Lot and campus, but unless you get lucky and obtain a spot at the near end of Park Lot, you’re going to have some walking to do, or you can wait for the Silver Line, whenever it decides to show up.

This leads me to the next argument. Let’s say that parking passes are a necessity for societal order, and therefore we must have them in place. Why, then, is there the need to restrict the student’s parking to a small range? If a Riverview student has paid the $450 for a parking pass, why should they be ticketed if they park in Library Lot? Maybe they know they won’t be returning home until late and prefer to drive themselves home in the security of their car, rather than walk across the river and through a region of Rochester where crime rates are significantly higher. It would make sense for a student to think, “I’ve paid for a parking pass, I should be allowed to park on campus.” The university’s parking administration, however, feels that having a pass for a different zone is reason to ticket. I understand why the administration may think zones are necessary, giving some semblance of organization, but why should a student not be allowed to park nearer their classes if they happen to be in a rush? Why are students being penalized for parking elsewhere when their assigned lot seems to have no usable parking spaces?

The point is, there are so many parking spaces across campus, and they should be open to the use of the students without such a high fee or risk of ticket. If we want to make lives easier for faculty, I think many students would agree with me that a faculty-specific lot is fine, or maybe just faculty-specific spaces in various lots. But charging so much for parking, and then cracking down on students with expensive tickets seems a hindrance to student lives more than anything.

Lotfi is a member of the class of 2016.

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