Students slammed with parking tickets as year begins

In this photo, cars are shown with orange UConn parking tickets on their windshields. Students have expressed frustration over the inadequate number of parking spaces and major changes made to designated parking areas at the Storrs campus. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

An inadequate number of parking spaces and major changes to designated parking areas at the Storrs campus have frustrated UConn students with numerous parking tickets and unexpected expenses since returning to classes last week.

“I find it absolutely ridiculous that I paid for a valid parking pass for several different lots and had no parking (Tuesday) morning and had to pay to use the garage while in class all day,” fifth-year PhD student Tracy Hicks said. “I even came early and tried several different lots. All were full.”

Students specifically expressed frustration about conflicting reports from parking services, which many said resulted in them being ticketed.

Parking services declined to comment for this story.

Residents in search of parking have faced challenges from a reduction in the size of S-Lot, construction on D-Lot and the dirt lot behind East Campus as well as an increase in the number of students at the Storrs campus. Many commuters have also experienced trouble parking, as they face fewer available spaces in their lots.

The ticket onslaught began before classes were in session. Sam Cole, a seventh-semester english and political science double major, said she parked in one of the premium residential lots with a commuter permit the Friday before classes began and received a warning.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that I paid for a valid parking pass for several different lots and had no parking (Tuesday) morning and had to pay to use the garage while in class all day.
— UConn PhD student Tracy Hicks, on her experiences with UConn parking this week.

“During the summer you can park in any student lot with a commuter pass,” Cole said. “My friend even called to confirm we were allowed to park there on Friday.”

Fifth-semester nursing major Jess Massey dealt with a greater challenge last week. Coming to campus with a cracked windshield, she could not place her parking permit in the bottom right corner of the windshield as required.

So, she improvised.

Placing the permit on her dashboard’s bottom right corner with a note explaining the situation, she thought parking services would understand her plight.

“I got a warning,” Massey said. “(It) said ‘Mansfield Apartments parking permit required’ even though I had a Mansfield Apartments permit. ... The officer who wrote my warning citation put the (warning) right next to the crack in my windshield,” Massey said.

Lexi Pytel, a seventh-semester ecology and evolutionary biology and anthropology double major, also experienced difficulties with parking on campus. As a legally disabled student, she has a medical parking permit that allows her to park anywhere on campus.

“I parked my car at Charter Oak, and I ended up getting a warning ticket because I'm apparently not allowed to park somewhere that conveniences me,” Pytel said.

The section of D-Lot undergoing construction has no announced timetable for completion. An email sent to students with residential permits on Sept. 3 said repaving would begin Tuesday. Conclusion of the construction is “weather-dependent.”

The email said parking services has opened Y-Lot and Lot 8 to residential students who might need the space. However, one student’s experience parking in Lot 8 shows that might not necessarily be true.

“I already got a warning,” fifth-semester communication major Sarah Kelly said. “I'm still not sure why. I have a resident pass.”

More than a dozen students submitted stories to The Daily Campus detailing trouble with parking availability or improper parking citations. In addition, some of UConn’s motor scooter operators have reported receiving unnecessary tickets for parking at bike racks.

“(I got) a $50 moped ticket for parking at a bike rack,” seventh-semester physiology and neurobiology major Allie Cammisa said. “Got the exact same ticket last spring, and the woman at parking services told me to keep parking at bike racks – and they accepted my appeal. Just UConn things.”

Parking permits are halfway through a five-year plan that increases prices significantly – some by as much as 172 percent, according to a report from The Daily Campus in 2013. Hicks said the situation has grown more difficult over the past two years as parking services has continued to raise the cost.

“I can absolutely say that for two years I pinched pennies to save for garage passes because of how bad parking space availability had gotten,” Hicks said. “But the price this year for a garage pass was absolutely ridiculous so I just couldn't swing it. Which put me right back in this situation.”


Kyle Constable is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kyle.constable@uconn.edu. He tweets @KyleConstable.