Parking system fails to impress

By Meghan Hurley
October 14, 2005

Jerry Zurek

When asked about the new parking pass system on campus, Charles Schaffner, director of public safety, described it as “streamlined and much more efficient.” However, student and staff opinion would suggest the contrary. The switch to an online parking permit store and online ticket paying system has sparked controversy and anger on Cabrini’s campus, especially with students.

During the summer, students received an e-mail from Public Safety detailing the new system. Students have to go to to register their car and pay for the parking pass. They then get a temporary pass e-mailed to them to place in the rear driver’s side window until the actual pass comes in the mail. Schaffner acknowledged that “with any new system there are growing pains,” but he feels overall that this system is the most efficient.

Schaffner heard about this website from a man doing a survey of parking on the campus. He brought it up with his boss, Stephen Lightcap, vice president for finance and administration, and they both agreed it would be a good idea. Schaffner said that this new system was implemented to save the college time and money. The old system was a lot of data entry and was a great deal of administrative work for the officers. This computerized system, in turn, gives the Public Safety officers more time to serve the campus.

Students, however, do not see this as such a great benefit. Curtis Iorio, a sophomore marketing major, said, “I think it was a bad decision to let a company take over the parking permit system instead of Public Safety. It was a ridiculous increase of money for students and something that should have had the students’ voice behind it.”

Along with the new parking pass procedure, there is a new ticketing system. When a car receives a ticket, the owner is required to go to to either pay the ticket or appeal it. Schaffner looks at all the appeals and is the final decision on what is granted and what is rejected.

Jenna Viggiano, a junior elementary/special education major, is not as enthusiastic over the ticketing procedure. “I’m outraged with the whole parking situation. I was told the second day of school that tickets wouldn’t be issued for a week and a half, and the next day I got a ticket on my car. I went to speak to the director, and I was told to appeal online. My appeal was denied, so I wrote to the director directly over a week ago and he has yet to respond to me. Public Safety needs to do a better job of being honest to the students and responding to e-mailed concerns,” Viggiano said.

Public Safety officers write all the tickets electronically. They have handheld computers attached to mini-printers that they use to input the data. The printer prints out the ticket and the violation goes into the computer system.

Tammy Fritz, the Norristown Partnership Organizer, has a faculty parking pass, but parks on Residential Blvd. because she lives in New Residence Hall. She was given two tickets because there was no pass in her rear window, and the officers didn’t see the faculty pass. She appealed and had a positive experience. “When I went to the office to appeal, they were helpful and courteous.” She now has her own parking spot in front of New Residence Hall.

Enforcement of the parking passes is on a daily basis for the officers. This enforcement is affected directly though by the number of other calls that they receive. Schaffner stated that each shift looks for parking violations and writes tickets. He also said that there is some leniency when it comes to parking. On Tuesdays and Thursdays on campus, it can be difficult to find parking. Public Safety acknowledges this and certain “violations,” like parking on the grass, are overlooked.

Schaffner also said that there are other violations that are strictly enforced no matter what. Parking in the fire lanes, snow routes or student parking in faculty/staff spots are not tolerated.

Laura Gorgol, the campus minister, has had trouble finding a spot in the faculty area. “To park on this campus you should need a pass.” She feels that overcrowding could be helped by requiring anyone parking on campus, students, faculty, staff, Dixon Center members or guests, to need some sort of pass.

Parking passes are distributed to sophomores, juniors and seniors. The number of parking spots on campus, especially this year, has diminished. Commuters Phil Nicolo and Matt Grezskowiak have found parking difficult on campus as well. A commuter is required to pay the same amount for a parking pass as a resident.

Nicolo, a junior sociology/criminal justice major, said, “I don’t think it’s fair because I have to drive. People who live on campus don’t need a car, and it’s a luxury.” He needs a place to park so he can go to classes.

Grzeskowiak, a senior elementary education major, offers another solution. “As a commuter, I feel that all commuters should be guaranteed a space and then the remaining spaces distributed to residents.” He suggests that parking passes should be distributed based on availability of parking spots.

Another point of debate concerning that parking pass is the rise in price. In response to this, Schaffner explained that last year, students were supposed to have been paying $35 a semester for the pass. Through an error, though, students were only charged $25 per semester. So if this mistake had not been made, it would have only been a $5 increase.

There are many students who have refused to buy a parking pass because of the rise in price and lack of parking availability. In a survey of 155 cars along Residential Boulevard, it was documented that 99 had passes and 56 did not.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: . The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Meghan Hurley

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