Opinion

Surviving IUSB’s parking system

By: KENDALL ASBELL
Staff Writer
@kendallasbell

I pulled my car into the lower parking lot of Northside Hall on the morning of Oct. 31. A perfect empty parking spot seemed to be waiting for me, and I pulled in with three minutes to spare until my scheduled appointment with my counselor.

I was impressed with myself that I had made it on time. As I prepared to grab my purse and dash from the car to the building, I looked up through my windshield to see something that made me freeze in terror.

It was the Parking Enforcement of IUSB. Let’s call him the Enforcer.

For a quick moment I thought about just pulling out and leaving. Full disclosure, I do not have a parking permit and had been ducking the “law” for weeks. The Enforcer spotted me. I was sitting in my car, and acting as though I were going to drive off—in case he felt compelled to write me a ticket.

Our eyes locked.

I froze.

I waited to see if he would approach my vehicle. I held my breath and smiled slightly. He moved on.

Now, I’m not sure whether it was my dashing looks that distracted him (unlikely), or if he simply was too busy to notice my expired parking permit hanging from the rearview mirror. Either way, I was thankful that I had not been ticketed.

I watched as the Enforcer moved along the row to a car four spaces down from mine. He quickly slapped a ticket on the unsuspecting car’s windshield. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had been spared such a fate.

By now, I was late for my appointment. I sat there for five more minutes, watching the Enforcer march up and down each row of cars. “Sitting ducks,” the Enforcer must have mused to himself. At first I thought this was a game to him. Maybe he had noticed my expired permit and he was just toying with me until I left my vehicle.

I observed him carefully.

Once he was out of sight, I exited my vehicle and cautiously made my way to the Northside building. The Enforcer was engaged in conversation with another man, giving him directions around the campus.

I stared at them from across the parking lot as I walked briskly, waiting to see if he looked my way. Did he notice that I had left my vehicle? We were locked in a game of cat and mouse. Could I outwit the Enforcer?

Alas, his head never turned in my direction. I was free.

Thirty minutes later, I exited the building and crossed the parking lot to my vehicle. I zeroed in on my windshield. As it came into greater focus, I looked to see if the Enforcer had gotten the better of me.

No ticket!

There has been some controversy over the change in price for parking permits at IUSB. Instead of a sliding scale based on the number of credits one takes, IUSB is now charging a flat rate of $160 for the entire year. For some students, this change has nearly doubled the price of parking.

At the beginning of the semester, parking enforcement was, let’s just say, lax. This was by design, however, as the administration wanted to give students time to receive their new permits in the mail. But the Enforcers have been out in full-force since mid-October.

My first ticket came at approximately 3:12 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20. I was parked in the Northside parking lot. I was not really expecting this, since I had yet to receive a ticket two months into the semester. I am on campus an average of 16 hours a week, and I had scarcely seen enforcers combing the parking lots.

In less than 20 days, my ticket count went from zero to five. Three of them occurring before 10 a.m. when I was parked in the Education and Arts lot. I don’t park there anymore.

What started off as a fun experiment quickly transitioned into a mounting parking ticket debt totaling $100. I have written a request to have the fee lowered, but have yet to hear back from parking enforcement as it takes several weeks to get a response.

I wagered at the beginning of the semester that it would have been cheaper to accrue parking tickets here and there than having to fork over $160 on a parking permit. By early October, that bet was paying off as I had accumulated no tickets. But now, it seems as though I may lose that bet.

Perhaps part-time students who are on campus for shorter hours may see a better outcome. But for me, I have found that the stress of worrying about a ticket is just not worth it. I will likely fork over the money for a parking permit next semester. Sorry Enforcer, our little games may be coming to an end.

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