Lack of Public Parking Info Cause More Tickets
BY MEGAN EICHENBERG
A slight increase in the number of parking tickets issued on College Avenue is due to the opening of a new semester, amd additional enforcement by city and UMW officers due to citizen concerns and student misunderstandings about parking initiatives, according to Susan Knick, the assistant vice president for public safety and community services.
To address this issue, the UMW police department put out a flyer educating students on parking policy and how to avoid getting ticketed during the spring semester.
While a change in rules allows residential students to park in commuter lots, residential students remain prohibited from parking on College Avenue at any time, including weekends.
Beginning Feb. 11, the student-oriented flyer will be available to officers who wish to use it, and copies will be available in Brent House. Eventually, it will also be accessible online.
The flyer includes details such as on-campus parking rules, places where students commonly get caught violating parking regulations, and tips for off campus parking.
“Contrary to what many may believe, we really don’t want our community members to receive parking tickets,” Knick said. “The flyer is just another level of communication to help people understand what they can and cannot do in order to avoid receiving a ticket.”
The flyer contains several points concerning where students can park and what areas are restricted, including a reminder of the rule that there is no parking on the city of Fredericksburg’s streets for students who live on-campus.
According to the university police website, residential students are prohibited by Fredericksburg City Ordinance Sec.58-174 from parking on city streets adjacent, parallel, or perpendicular to the University.
Commuter students are prohibited from parking in the same area by Fredericksburg City Ordinance Sec.58-173, with the exception of both sides of College Avenue.
Both residential and commuter students are allowed to park on Hanover Street on the Battleground side only from High Street to Sunken Road.
The ordinances also prohibit students from parking in College Heights. A listing titled “Restricted Parking Zone Streets in the City of Fredericksburg,” is available on the University Police website.
Even if there is not a sign specifying no UMW student parking, violators are still liable to be ticketed if caught parking on a restricted street without a proper parking permit.
According to the Fredericksburg city police website, UMW students who live in College Heights must have either a yellow or green city parking permit to park in the neighborhood.
The flyer also emphasizes the fact that cars without a proper university or city decal risk being ticketed and fined if caught parked in a restricted zone.
Knick said it is never too late for students to register for a decal, which are $200 for the academic year and $100 for a semester, and students who fail to properly register and park their vehicles also risk a $200 fine if caught.
However, Knick said the police will apply the $200 fine toward a decal if the student wishes to comply with University policy.
Students caught without a proper decal also risk administrative referral for intentional failure to comply with university policies.
Knick said tickets written by a city police officer and tickets written by a university police officer are both Fredericksburg traffic tickets, and city ticket appeals must be done through the General District Court of Fredericksburg, not UMW.
“Cars in violation of the city’s parking ordinances, which include College Avenue, are issued city parking tickets. These may be issued by city police or UMW police,” Knick said.
A person charged with violating a parking ordinance must either pay the ticket at the Office of the City Treasurer or make an appointment to speak with the watch commander if the violator feels the ticket was issued in error.
According to Knick, the city issues penalties for failure to pay and has the right to summon violators to court for non payment.
Knick is also a member of the Student Services Committee, and said student concerns regarding parking are often discussed by the committee. She has met twice with the Student Senate and once with the Commuting Student Association to talk about campus parking.
“Whenever a student group would like to facilitate a meeting, I will be happy to attend if my schedule permits. If not, I will have a representative attend on my behalf,” Knick said, adding, “Many wonderful ideas have come from the students themselves, so I more than welcome the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.“
Knick said individual students may also contact the university police or the Office for Public Safety and Community Services with further parking comments, ideas, and suggestions.