Someone needs to give the boot to University Parking Services here at CSU. It's pretty screwed up.
I am one of the fortunate ones who do not own a car here at CSU. I feel for those of you who have been put through the ringer with excessive parking fines, aggrandizing late fees and just plain poor customer service. You are not alone.
It's tough to escape people who complain about parking here. It's an issue on many a person's tongue, and it's not just about the fines that are levied. It was a big enough issue, after all, to warrant a significant push on nearly every single candidate for Associated Students of CSU executive office's platform last spring.
But for some reason it's tough for someone who doesn't drive or park around campus to empathize with these sentiments.
That was until last week, for me, when I too was forced to traverse the hellish gauntlet that is parking services.
Like I said, I do not do very much driving around here. And so, after borrowing a friend's car for the day, I made the catastrophic mistake of pulling into the south entrance of the "U" lot between the Durrell Center and the Lory Apartments. As I pulled into the lot, I noticed the blue sign that said something to the effect of "No parking anytime without permit."
Instead of immediately throwing the car into reverse and backing out blindly into the street (which is basically what the woman at Green Hall's front desk told me to do), I figured I would drive to the other end of the parking lot, go out the exit there and park elsewhere.
However, as I pulled into the lot to do just that, I noticed another blue sign posted on the east side of Durrell with the same message, but it also had a large double-sided arrow printed below it. In an act that I now admit was a bit obtuse, I, of course, was fooled by the sign and parked in the lot next to, but seemingly not under the jurisdiction of, the sign.
I got out of the car at 6 p.m., and despite claims of there only being about 15 ticket-writers total who dole out citations on campus (anyone who has ever received a ticket around here knows that these people are ravenous – they will swoop down and give you a ticket before you can blink your eye), by 6:30 p.m., I had a ticket.
Originally enraged, I was soon quelled by the fact that I could raise an appeal with parking services.
Ah, sweet democracy, I thought. You've gone and reared your righteous and ever-just head again.
So the next week, I took a stroll down to Green Hall, hoping to make my case and ask for an appeal (an appeal to idiocy is an appeal nonetheless) on the citation.
When I got there, however, I was "greeted" by the aforementioned woman who acted as no less than judge, jury and executioner. She shot down my appeal, led me to believe that I would have to pay the $10 appeal fee no matter the outcome (which is blatantly untrue), gravely insulted my intelligence and effectively bullied me into paying my fee. I cannot even begin to describe how utterly appalled I was at this situation, and I can only say that I would not wish this woman's wrath on even my worst of enemies.
For me it's not even about the citation anymore (although I still feel for those of you forced to find a spot on campus); the problems with parking services go much deeper than ill-conceived and sometimes confoundingly marked student and faculty lots and an army of ticket writers that seems more like a few hundred rather than just a few.
I am simply amazed by how, even down to the customer service, parking service fails so many students and faculty alike on so many levels.
I can't say for sure what needs to be done, but what I can say is something's got to give. I am positive that I am not the only student around here who is disenfranchised with University Parking Services.
Let's get our heads together and give parking services the collective boot.
John Walsh is a sophomore technical journalism major. His column runs every other Tuesday in the Collegian.