By Isabella Ferrante | Staff Writer

Parking regulations changing on campus leave students worried about stumbling into a ticket. (Courtesy of CrossRoads Driving School)

The new parking and traffic citation procedures on campus have caused many students a great amount of frustration in the past few weeks. As of Feb. 27, Public Safety had given out 164 traffic violations. To me, the most shocking part of these violations is how Public Safety is now issuing them. Students are now receiving emails notifying them that they have outstanding tickets, followed by the ticket being mailed to their house. Common violations are speeding and rolling stop signs, which is something all students at Saint Mary’s can agree has become a problem.

I understand that driving on campus is an extremely important safety issue, but I believe the communication from Public Safety to the students about this new procedure could have been handled in a more effective way. Although we did receive an email notifying us of these changes on Feb. 12, it failed to completely explain what this new policy would look like. Specifically, being notified about your tickets via email was not mentioned in the initial notice. I do not have an issue with receiving an email; however, I do think that when implementing a new policy like this you need to be as clear as possible with the students so that they know what to expect.

Several students returned for the Spring semester and were surprised to receive an email in their inbox regarding a traffic violation within the first few days of the new term. Continuing with this form of regulation leads students to question reliability, for they are not immediately stopped when committing a traffic violation.

One of the concerns that I have for this new policy is the possibility of error. For example, if the officer writing the citation noted the incorrect license plate and someone else got a ticket, it would be extremely frustrating and almost impossible for a student to prove. There have been plenty of times where I have witnessed students recklessly driving around campus, and something does need to be done about it. However, these new rules and regulations should have been made more clear to students to alleviate some of the frustration that goes along with getting a traffic violation.

The other vehicle-related topic that has caused some confusion around campus has been the new designated visitor parking. Students and faculty are now having to adjust to reformed on-campus parking, which also is resulting in fines from Public Safety.

Visitors are now able to park in a section of the commuter lot, a section of the Recreation Center lot, Garaventa soccer lot, and the Upper Soda lot. I believe that having designated visitor parking is something that is definitely necessary for the school to implement, but there have already been so many changes to parking this year that this should have been started over the summer going into the current school year.

There have been several parking lots on campus that have been changed from student parking to employee parking or cut in half with signs indicating where student parking ends. Sometimes I am even unsure of what places are acceptable to park. Although I am not a commuter student, I have heard that finding parking has already been extremely difficult and that many students who do not live on campus are upset about the new visitor spots due to the fact that it is affecting their ability to get to class on time.

Since the new semester has started, I have seen the majority of parking spots filled all the way up the canyon into the upper Ageno lots—something that rarely has happened before. To me, this is a clear sign that having the visitor parking in places that students used to park in is affecting students. The mid-year changes have made students, like myself, extremely confused and left wondering what spots are acceptable to park in to avoid getting a ticket.

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