Commuter students outnumber amount of parking spaces in lot

Parking has always been a question of concern for Keene State College students. The college seems to be lacking in the commuter parking department as many students are being fined for improper parking due to the lack of spaces available for commuting students.

KSC has 220 commuter parking spaces and has sold 400 commuter parking passes.

There are 20 types of parking violations listed on the KSC website. The violations range from a small fee of $10 for parking in a restricted area to a large sum of $250 for parking in a handicapped space without a pass.

When students are issued a ticket they receive three emails: one regarding the reason for the ticket, a warning about paying the ticket and a reminder that an appeal can be made within 10 days of the issue date. As of August 25, 2014, 628 parking violations have been issued in both commuter lots, according to the parking office.

Of those tickets, 287 of them were issued under the violation of “No Permit,” a $50 fine. 174 tickets were given for “Wrong Lot,” a $20 fine. “I’ve gotten two or three tickets for parking in the wrong lot,” KSC student Laura Gillis said.

Gillis has been parking in the commuter lot for two years now and said she believes the commuter lot is not big enough for the amount of tickets given out.

Gillis said she believes KSC “should allow [students] to park in some of the faculty and staff parking areas, or just combine the lots together.”

Leonard Crossman is the assistant director of campus safety and has been assigned to the oversight of the parking office.

He manages routine parking issues and any incidents that may arise. Crossman explained that campus safety conducts lot surveys during different periods of the day and different days of the week, to count how many open spaces are available during that time period. “We’re doing these surveys to determine how many parking passes we can issue,” Crossman said. Parking Office Manager Kara Shatney said that the parking office is able to sell more permits than spaces available because of these surveys.

“People are coming and going throughout the day and not everyone with a permit is going to be on campus at the exact same time,” Shatney said. But not all students feel that way. “It’s crazy to try and find a spot in the morning,” Gillis said, “In order to get a spot, [students] have to go at eight a.m. or just the right time during the day.”

Students that violate one or more of these parking rules more than once will be at risk for towing,

Philip Bergeron / Graphics Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphics Editor

according to the KSC website. Crossman assured that campus safety doesn’t tow first-time offenders often. “If a student has a pattern of chronic violation, [campus safety] is obligated to make sure that there is a free flow of traffic for emergency vehicles,” he said, which could result in a tow. Leon’s Auto Center is an auto body shop located on Main Street. If a car was to be towed from KSC to Leon’s Auto Center it would cost $100 plus $60 per day of hold, Leon’s Business Office Manager Jackie Stromgren said.

Not only will the student be responsible for the towing fee, but also the violation fine they received prior to towing.

The KSC website also states that the college reserves the right to place a financial hold on students’ accounts for unpaid parking violations. Crossman said that students still have access to register for classes with these holds, but they can affect their ability to receive their transcripts or diplomas.

Shatney confirmed that the parking office does a monthly report regarding students who have any outstanding parking violations. That report then gets sent to the financial office on campus and a hold is put on any account that has multiple unpaid tickets. When asked about future plans, Crossman explained that campus safety is concerned with the increasing number of students at KSC. “Our college continues to grow and this is the largest freshman class we’ve ever had, but as they become upperclassmen that could create parking issues,” he said.

“The problem is, the college only owns so much property,” Crossman said.

He said he believes that the college has to figure out what to do with the growing population at KSC before expanding the parking.

Crossman also said that the idea of a parking garage has been presented to the school as an idea to save space. As of now, according to campus safety, the parking rules will remain the same and students will have to battle to get parking spots each year.

Crossman said lot surveys will continue to be conducted in hopes of expanding accessibility.

MacKenzie Clarke can be

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