Parking tickets make cents

Commuters are paying the price for campus construction- in more ways than one.

Northern Kentucky University’s annual parking violations bring in a substantial amount of money, which in turn funds the construction of many on-campus projects.

The parking tickets issued by NKU Parking Services pay for the maintenance of the 6,900 parking spaces available to both students and faculty on campus.

The current barrage of construction to build garages on campus is only the beginning phase; funding must be set aside each fiscal year for the upkeep of each parking structure.

“There’s a lot of expense that goes into maintaining a garage once it is built,” said Parking Services Manager Lisa Bunkley-Boyd.

The parking habits of each student at NKU directly affect the amount of revenue that is raised and pumped into the building of the student parking.

With this in mind, students have to take care about where they leave their cars and be aware of the looming infractions Parking Services can issue.

The list of parking violations on NKU’s campus vary from parking on the grass or in a fire lane to having no parking permit displayed on your vehicle.

More than 14,000 parking tickets were issued between July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, 11,970 were parking-permit related.

But Parking Services reports one specific type of parking violation seems to be the most common-failure to display a parking permit.

Bunkley-Boyd added that 8,749 parking tickets were issued last fiscal year for not having a parking permit.

The price of each ticket issued costs the violator between $35 and $100. Nevertheless, that’s a lot of money being collected- where can it all be going?

Last year, NKU officials wrote $550,000 worth of parking tickets, but only collected about half that due to tickets being either overturned by an appeal process or turned over to collection agencies.

But maintaining parking lots and garages is only part of the picture. The debt NKU owes on the parking itself accounts for where the majority of the collected money goes.

“It costs $12,000 per parking space for a garage to build it,” Bunkley-Boyd said.

And according to her, the mega parking structures on campus won’t be free and clear from debt anytime soon. “The garages won’t be paid off for another 20 to 30 years,” she said.

If you attend NKU and commute every day, chances are you have encountered the rat race that ensues in search of an empty parking spot. It is common knowledge that parking isn’t always available.

With this in mind, the provisions laid out by Parking Services may seem hard at times to follow. So, here are a few rules students should bear in mind:

1) No points accrue on your license. But after ten days, if the ticket remains unpaid, the fee gets another ten dollars tacked on to it.

2) Other than the late fee, the time allotted to pay for each ticket is up to the driver. The ticket must be paid off or a hold will be issued on registration before the next semester.

3) Parking Services will not sell a parking permit to anyone without a clear record.

4) Three or more citations and the vehicle gets booted (tire enclosed in metal encasement, rendering the car useless).

Although booting might seem the worst punishment, according to Parking Services, there is a violation that carries greater consequence: Displaying a forged parking pass.

Typical examples of this violation include individuals coloring the parking permit with marker in order to match the current color and/or attempting to mark up the seven in 2007 to make it look like an eight as in 2008.

If this infraction is committed, Parking Services won’t be the only department to answer to.

“For a forged permit, we will lock the vehicle. Then a state citation will be issued by the police department,” Bunkley-Boyd said.

Over the course of a year, many tickets will be issued, but not all will be found guilty.

For those who maintain their innocence, they can appeal to the University Parking Appeals Committee, but it must be done within 10 days of ticketing.

For those who bend the rules at the beginning of the semester, you might be in the clear. The university takes into account the hectic dash to register for class, purchase books and buy a parking pass.

“NKU does not ticket the first few weeks of each semester,” Bunkley-Boyd said.

To stem the problem of finding a parking space on campus, NKU has projects in the works.

There are currently two parking garages on campus, but for the future, a third is to be finished in May of 2008.

The addition should add 370 lot and 720 garage spaces to the nearly 7,000 current spaces.

But if the parking problem persists, Parking Services suggest students start walking more, and not always go for the nearest and, sometimes illegal, parking spot.

To prevent future parking tickets on campus Bunkley-Boyd offered one sure fire solution: “Purchase a permit; it will solve most of the problems.”