Some students who live off campus and almost the entire faculty at Keene State College need to park on campus in order to attend classes or go to work. For both students and faculty alike, finding parking can be hard.
Journalism Professor Mark Timney said that parking on campus during certain hours of the day can be difficult.
“Two days a week I come in around 10:00 a.m. or a little later, and finding parking then is almost impossible,” Timney said.
A lot of students who park on campus said they get frustrated when they are late to class because there are no spots available. Senior Devin Cleary said if she doesn’t leave 20 minutes early some days, she will end up late for class.
“I live off campus so I need to drive. Sometimes I think it would be quicker to walk though because I wouldn’t have to spend a half hour looking for parking,” Cleary said.
Even though only students and faculty with parking permits park on campus the lots still fill up quickly. Timney said the amount of space to park decreased because of the amount of construction on campus.
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“The school keeps losing parking to new construction every year. It’s been a serious problem since I’ve been here and long before,” Timney said.
It has come to the point where students and faculty have found ways around the parking issue, but in order to do this they made a change to their everyday routine.
Cleary said that she found somewhere else to park in order to make it to class on time.
“Since I can never find parking on campus at the time of my classes I usually end up just parking at my friend’s house on the street over,” Cleary said.
Even professors had to make changes to their day in order to find parking, even if that meant catching up on a little bit of history first.
“Upon a suggestion from another faculty member, I bought a membership at the Historical Society so I could park in their lot for a few hours whenever I can’t find parking on campus,” Timney said.
Director of Campus Safety, Amanda Warman, agreed that it might be hard for students and faculty to find parking. She said most of the time it is because students who don’t have passes try to park on campus. She said it could also be people with passes parking in lots other than the ones they were assigned.
“These folks have obtained their permits and been provided with information on where to park only to find the space taken by someone who didn’t. This is particularly challenging during the day and early evening when parking is in highest demand.”
Warman said when they found cars parked without a pass or in the wrong lot, it was necessary to ticket them. Students needed to buy parking passes in order to park on campus. Faculty received passes free of charge from the school. With these passes students and faculty were assigned specific lots in which they could park. Warman said if they did not follow these rules, they got a ticket.
“In many cases, the unauthorized vehicle is parked for a short period of time, in which case they may receive one ticket,” Warman said.
Some students said that they received more than one ticket for being parked in a spot in which they did not know was wrong to park.
“Last year my friend left her car in the gym parking lot over night and was going to move it early the next day. By the time she got to it she already had two tickets,” Cleary said.
Cleary said she didn’t think it was fair to ticket a car more than once in the overnight hours when they would not be able to move it.
Warman said that the policy was to ticket a parked car every four hours. If people leave their cars parked in a wrong spot overnight they would receive a ticket every four hours they were parked there. Warman said they took this matter into discussion in a recent Campus Safety staff meeting. She said she agreed with the students’ thoughts about parking a car in the overnight hours and wanted to discuss the overnight policy with the rest of her staff.
“I can certainly see the student’s point about a car being parked overnight and being ticketed at midnight, 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. It is not reasonable to think that a student would be checking or moving their car in the middle of the night,” Warman said.
She said that in the discussion at the meeting she and the other officers decided that applying the policy to overnight parking did not best serve the greater interest and they decided to change the policy.
“While it’s technically correct to ticket, it does not serve the ‘spirit’ of the policy nor does it serve the image of our department,” Warman said.
While she said they changed this policy to serve to the students and faculty at KSC, there was one regulation that Warman did not expect to change. It was a question that has been brought up by other students before. Some students wondered, “Why can’t Campus Safety send out an alert text message to students and faculty when they received a ticket?”
“The first is that our parking services vendor, iParq, which houses the info for online parking registration and parking enforcement, does not currently support this,” Warman said.
She said text messages would increase the cost of iParq, which is not in the budget. With the iParq system, students receive e-mails rather than a text notification warning them that their car had been ticketed.
Warman also said that it was the permit holder’s responsibility to know the correct lots available when they signed up for a permit.
“The main entrances to areas are marked for the type of permit needed and areas with greater restrictions, like the Owls Nest or Pondside 2 and 3, are posted at each lot,” Warman said.
She said if students or faculty have questions about what lots are available to them they should contact Campus Safety for the accurate information. She also said if students feel as if the did not deserve the ticket they received, they could appeal and indicate why they believed their ticket was inappropriately issued.
Jen Richards can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.