Parking ticket money goes toward improvements on campus

Almost 5,000 tickets were given from August through September.

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Parking garage I is listed as full at 9:50 a.m. on a Tuesday. Craig Ries | Contributing Photographer

Benjamin Paley, Contributing Writer

Jacob Pridgen, a sophomore double majoring in political science and criminal justice, is sick of the parking situation on campus after getting what he believes to be an unfair ticket.

Pridgen had just gotten off work around midnight and had to be on the road to Miami by 4 a.m. the next day.

“The closest parking spot to Glades Park Towers was in the parking lot behind Parliament which was about a half mile away,” Pridgen said. “I figured I could park in the grass in front of Glades Park Towers since I would only be there for four hours in the dead of the night.”

At 1:15 a.m. he was issued a ticket, which Pridgen said frustrated him because he doesn’t believe FAU would have made these grass parking spots if they weren’t for making money off tickets.

“There is so little parking to begin with that it makes no sense to put grass in the parking lot unless it is to nickel and dime the students,” he said.  

Pridgen, however, is not the only student who was frustrated with the ticket he received.

Evy Arias, a senior finance major, was heading out with some friends to Ruggerfest, a rugby tournament, in 2013. While waiting for the rental van they were going to use at the Henderson Field parking lot on the Florida Atlantic Boca campus, Arias backed her car into two spaces because the parking lot was empty.

Due to a booking issue with the rental company, the van arrived 45 minutes late and in the rush to head out, Arias said she forgot to move her car. When she returned to correct her parking, she found a ticket waiting for her.

These two cases represent just a few of the many parking tickets given by FAU’s Department of Parking and Transportation. According to Rachelle Hollingsworth, public records specialist in the Division of Public Affairs, 4,932 parking tickets were given in between the months of August and September alone.

Data from FAU Parking obtained from a records request by the University Press shows that of the 3,927 parking tickets given in September, 1,193 remain unpaid.

According to Kelsie Weekes, the Media Relations manager for academic life, the most common parking violation is failing to display a valid parking permit. The department claims that the revenue from parking fines “is invested in improving the parking operation on FAU’s [Boca] campus.”

Weekes said that past improvements included the restriping of the parking lots and garages, replacing all of the light fixtures in Garages 1 and 2 with LED fixtures, resurfacing parking lots and adding 100 parking spaces to Parking Lot 2.

Arias is pleased with the changes that have been made, especially the LED lights. “Next, I wish they’d do something about the sprinklers watering the road.”

Pridgen, however, said he feels like he already pays enough money to the school without having to account for parking fees.

“We already pay a lot of money as it is to go to school here, especially if you live on campus,” he said. “If they really need money to keep the infrastructure in shape then charge us a higher parking and transportation access fee and get rid of the meter maids.”

Students can pay parking fines online through MyFAU, according to FAU Parking and Transportation’s website. Fines must be paid within 14 days of the issuance of the ticket or a $25 late fee will be added.

For a full list of FAU’s parking regulations, click here.

Benjamin Paley is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @benpaley92.