What’s really going on with parking

Dylan McKenna and Eddie Sheehy

Kendall Valan, Assistant News Editor

Student and faculty drivers of Robert Morris have always faced a difficult time finding space to park on campus.  And as the student body increases, so does the amount of complaints targeted at the campus police department.

At times when traffic is dense, many students can be found doing the ‘commuter lot shuffle.’ They circle their vehicles around the lots, often for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, in order to find an open parking space in a desired area.

“It’s funny because I always get asked the question ‘Why is there not enough parking spaces on campus?’ when in reality there is plenty of parking on campus,” said Chief Randy Mink of Robert Morris University Public Safety Department.

According to Mink, there are a total of 2,700 available spots at the university, Yorktown Hall and Braddock included.

“There is not really a problem of parking, it’s a problem of students, faculty and staff not wanting to walk across campus. I have been here 10 years. Parking has always been an issue, but that is how it is like on every college campus that I’m aware of, just by talking to other police chiefs,” said Mink.

Students have also been creating their own spots in the most popular parking lots on campus. Vehicles are being parked outside designated lines, blocking roadways and creating congestion within the paved area.

“Usually what we try to do the first couple of weeks is be a bit lenient, try to give people enough time to buy their permits and then after a few weeks we have to start enforcing the rules and bring the chaos back in control,” said Mink.

The illegal parking actions have also generated positive action from campus police. The CFL lot across from the Wheatley building will be receiving an additional 10 spaces in the next week.

“We found that where people were parking illegally, you know what, there is enough room here to put additional spaces and still not be in anybody’s way,” said Mink. “That is the reason why we put a lot in the beginning. Let’s see where people want to park illegal and see how bad it is. If it is not bad let’s make it a parking space”

Contrary to popular belief, all rules and regulations set by campus police have stayed the same from last year. The only new additions have been an online database for parking registration and new window sticker permits, all in an effort to stay efficient.

Paying for permits has switched to a completely virtual system. All student vehicle information is loaded into a system as a matter of organization. Mink admitted to errors with e-payments on the website, but hopes to iron out all issues within the next year.

The other change to campus parking is the switch from hanging tags to window sticker vehicle permits. All students and faculty are required to place the sticker to the lower left-hand side of the front car window. The decision came after a suggestion from the company who manufactures the passes. All ticket and permit prices have stayed consistent with previous years.

“I think the students do a pretty good job here of abiding by the rules. One of the things I would encourage though is that if you do get a parking ticket, come in and pay for it right away,” said Mink.

Students who choose to procrastinate with payment run the risk of having their college account frozen. This disciplinary action creates an issue during class registration.

“They come in and get mad at us, but all we are doing is our job, trying to enforce the rules the way they are set up,” explained Mink.

For more information on campus parking and vehicle registration visit http://publicsafety.rmu.edu.