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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Hope to Increase parking with Increase in Parking Fines

    Starting this past Nov. 1, if you are caught parking somewhere you are not permitted, expect to pay a substantial amount more than you would have the day before. Stony Brook has enforced the new fine structure since the first of the month in which some fines are doubled from subsequent years. This is the first increase in parking fines from the 1970’s and now SB is “keeping up with the times” according to Chief Douglas Little of the University Police, head of Parking Services. While Chief Little argued that most municipalities’ fines are still costlier than SB’s, he admits that this was not the main reason for the increase. According to Little and the Parking Services webpage, the goal of the increase is to make people more observant of the parking regulations and consequently free up reserved parking spaces. The University reasons that if everyone parked legally whether commuter, resident, visitor, or faculty and staff there would be sufficient parking for everyone; this being true even after the increase in students over the past few years. Chief Little credits President Kenny for increasing available parking over the last few years as the University has substantially grew. The increase in the number of students enrolled is seen, especially, in the South P commuter parking lot which is now filled to 85-90% capacity at peak times. The increase in the use of South P lot verifies that more commuter students are adhering to the parking guidelines. The increase in fees hopes to sway more people to park where they are allowed. Chief Little admits that almost 99% of all students, faculty and staff park legally, however he hopes that past-violators will think twice about parking illegally with the increase. The take home message from the University Police is that the fee increase negatively affects only those who violate the rules and benefits all by opening up spaces because of increased compliance of the rules. Chief Little hopes that there will be less tickets written because people will be more inclined to follow the rules. The fee increase decreases the justification that the cost of the fine is minimal. He also hopes violators “get the hint” and do not continually make the same mistake and realize that parking illegally is wrong. The Parking Services write 95% of the 5,000 summons given per month. The six employees who do the enforcing do not have quotas they have to meet. Similar to the University Police who do not have quotas for moving violations, Parking Services tickets violators they find. The police simply look at violation stats and hope to fine many, if not all, violators. The revenues that are made by collecting the fees are reinvested in the University as a whole and not solely to the police department. Some students take the risk and park illegally because they have not been caught in the past and if they did they paid the $15 fine, remembers Little. Now, the same violation will cost $30. The costliest parking violation on campus is using a designated handicap spot or parking in fire zones which now merit $100 fines per violation. The most common violation on campus, however, is unauthorized use of Faculty/Staff lots. These lots, many of which surround the Academic Mall, are continually used by students for convenience. If a summons is wrongfully given, the student or faculty member can appeal the ticket to the Parking Services office. Illegally parking in Faculty lots is enforced Mon. through Fri. until 3:30pm. After that time, however, anyone is allowed to park in those lots that are likely in closer to the class rooms. The debate over the fine increase has gone on for years, according to the Chief Little. However, he has been a proponent for the increase for some time now. Eventually, the discussion turned serious and the Stony Brook council passed a proposal for a fine increase. From there, the proposal was discussed and voted on by the SUNY system. After it was passed in Albany, the increase was posted on the Parking Services website one month before the new fines went into affect. Nobody doubts that there will still be violators and risk-takers even after the fine increase. Time will tell whether the hopes of fewer violators correspond with the unaffordable fines. If all does turn out according to plan, the University sees the increase as a benefit to all who use the parking services on campus. Although some parking areas around campus are more appealing than others, the cost is larger if convenience and time is considered greater.

    A Short Break-Down of the New Fines as found on Parking Services site

    Violation Old Fine New Fine

    Unauthorized Parking Expired Meter$15 $30 Parking in Fire Zone or Handicap spot$50 $100

    Blocking Dumpster Blocking Operations No Parking Zone Parked in Loading Zone$25 $40

    Parked on Roadway$15 $40

    Tow/Boot $40 $75 (plus cost of ticket)

    Abandoned Vehicle Parked on Grass Parked on Sidewalk$25 $30

    If the ticket is not paid within 15 days and is not under appeal, a late fee of $10 will be added to the cost of the ticket.

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