Triad tickets urge parking answers

The Triad parking lot has been changed from a residential lot to a commuter parking lot that requires a parking pass. - Multimedia Editor / Drew Peltzman

Multiple Rowan students were issued parking tickets on Nov. 7 outside the Triad complex in Lot F despite having parked there for the entirety of the semester without any issues. 

The Whit reported on the spotty ticket offenses that confuse students.

This parking area, also known as the Triad parking lot, was converted from a residential lot to a commuter lot at the onset of the semester according to Rowan University Parking Administrator Walter Andres. This change prohibits students from parking there without the purchase of a commuter parking permit, costing $80 for just the Fall semester and $140 for the entire school year. The alternative, Andres explained, is a $75 ticket. 

“Those permit prices and fines are set by the Board of Trustees,” Assistant Vice President of Public Safety & Emergency Management Michael Kantner said. “They’ve been like that since I came here in 2010.”

According to Andres, “There is no free parking on campus. That lot has recently changed from a resident lot to a commuter lot, so there might have been some lag times in weeks while we got the sign updated. That was all put out at the beginning of the semester.”

Andres explained that their choice of informing the student body about parking protocol changes is through the “Daily Mail” emails students receive once every day, or by viewing their website. The sign to the parking lot was physically changed at the beginning of October.

Upon digging through multiple student inboxes, The Whit found no reference to “Lot F” or “Triad Parking” in any Daily Mail/Rowan Announcer email from the months of August and September of 2023. 

“I’m a business student, I’ve been parking at Triad since freshman year,” marketing major Aiva Hornback said. “I’ve never had a problem before this day.”

Hornback, a Saxby’s employee, has utilized the Triad parking lot for the length of her shift with the assumption that, since Triad is an unutilized building on campus, there would be no motive for tickets to be issued.

“There is nowhere else to park… Because I’m there late, and … there so early, it’s dark out most times that I’m driving my car. So I think it’s messed up that they’re discouraging people from driving,” Hornback said.

Public safety identifies that parking is an issue.

“Parking is probably one of the biggest headaches in any University,” Assistant Vice President Michael Kantner said. “We have the ample parking spaces, we guarantee parking, we don’t guarantee convenient parking… And that goes for faculty and staff too.”

According to Andres, there are a total of 1,606 commuter parking spots on campus with a total of 3,710 commuter passes sold for the fall semester (full-year permits included).

“Even though there are designated faculty lots… if they’re not here at a certain time, and some of the lots are reopened, then they’re not going to find a place to park,” Kantner said.

This unfortunate reality has cost students like freshman Logan Miller more time over money, as he had purchased a commuter permit yet still received a ticket.

“I was kind of mad at first like it pissed me off,”  Miller said. “I just got a ticket for something, but I didn’t deserve it. I mean they probably just made a mistake.”

Miller is currently in the process of appealing the ticket, a safeguard against any mistakes an officer could have made. Appeals can be done online and help adjust fines or remove them entirely.

“I try to tell our appeals people, ‘Hey, be understanding, see the circumstances don’t automatically just say no,’” Kantner said. “Try to understand that everyone’s situation is different.”

“I get minimum wage,” Hornback began, “I support myself mostly and it’s like $75, that’s a whole trip to the grocery store for a student…. Like I’m already giving the school thousands and thousands of dollars, I just think it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Andres provided some insight into his patrollers’ protocol, “If you put them on a schedule, then some students who are very smart will figure out where to park or where not to park. So they go out for the day, I might assign them a side of campus, and they kind of break it up into the north and south side of campus. But that’s about as far as I go. I want them to kind of move freely around.”

Having amassed a total of at least $296,800 off permits alone, the question arises as to why ticketing is such an emphasis for public safety, and where does the ticket money end up?

According to Kantner, “That money is forwarded to accounting or the Office of Finance, that money does not stay up in the Public Safety budget.”

This is not before fees are taken out by a third-party vendor called “iParq” whose software is utilized by Rowan for the website to purchase permits and a database that records said permits and tickets, Kantner explained.

“When you guys go online to get your permit, you’re actually going into their system. You’re seeing what permit you need. You’re going through, and you’re paying them,” said Kantner. “And then iParq, I assume, takes out whatever fee we pay them and then they forward the rest of the funds back to the university which goes to accounting.”

Kantner continued that their contract with iParq is up after the school year, and they have begun “exploring other vendors to see if there’s a better system in place.”

Both Andres and Kantner detailed the issue that is behind their dependence on vendors and the appeals departments; the Department of Public Safety is very short-staffed. This yields a perception amongst students that ticketing mistakes are a result of shady attempts to get the last dollar out of everyone, even though it is far from reality.

“I will be emphatically clear on this, there is no such thing as a quota,” Kantner said. “Believe me, if anybody has any solutions out there now, how to improve parking, I’m all ears, we’re all ears.”

He detailed that he meets every year with the SGA presidents with an open invitation of suggestions to improve parking on campus. Current student body president Brianna Reagan has explored short-term solutions to the parking problem yet a long-term answer has yet presented itself.

“We’re trying to come up with the initiative of if you are participating in school drives, clothing drives, or any community service in some way, shape, or form when SGA opens up the opportunity, we’re going to basically cut down the amount on your ticket,” Reagan said. “So say, if you got a ticket for $75 we’re looking to cut down about $20-30.”

This tentative idea could help students who were not knowledgeable of the permit policy save some money and do good for the community while catching up on the parking regulations.

In addition, Andres and the parking department added a reference page to avoid receiving tickets, and have an open email that is best for getting in contact with them.

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