Playtime is Over: EWU’s New Parking Policy

The+paybyphone+app+is+taking+the+place+of+the+traditional+coin+parking+meters.

The paybyphone app is taking the place of the traditional coin parking meters.

By Aiden Cook, Reporter

 

Parking on campus can provide many headaches and concerns. Finding a spot, paying for said spot, security measures, lot maintenance and much more are usually on the minds of students parking at EWU. These concerns may only grow, however, as EWU plans to start booting cars with unpaid fines next fall.

The new policy, following guidelines under the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), gives parking staff the ability to place a wheel lock on vehicles showing a series of four unresolved citations or $100 in unpaid fines. If the owners of these vehicles don’t resolve their outstanding fees, the cars will eventually be towed off campus, adding an additional $45 to cover the towing fee. 

To understand the reasoning behind EWU’s new policy, The Easterner sat down with EWU’s parking director, Michelle Rasmussen.

EWU has never used this level of enforcement before,” said Rasmussen. “Unfortunately, there are parking abusers on campus that do not follow the rules of purchasing a permit or paying via mobile pay.  Those who do not pay are taking the stalls designated for those who have paid to park.”Of course in the eyes of most students, this problem seems rather minute. Rasmussen, however, painted a different picture of how serious the problem has become. 

“Since June 30, 2019, the unpaid parking citation dollar amount is $36,685.00,” said Rasmussen. “During the same time as noted above, there are a total of 44 students who have received an average of 19 citations; the highest number any student has is 61.”

Parking meters on the EWU campus. The meters now provide students with multiple options to pay for parking | The Easterner Archives

What seems to be even worse is that EWU usually doesn’t have a way to get some of these parking fines paid. 

“There are many vehicles on campus that we do not have assigned to a student in our system,” said Rasmussen. “Those citations remain in our database until we can identify who owns the vehicle.  Many times we never make that match and the citations remain unpaid indefinitely.”

Still, many students who live on campus and park there are often disgruntled with parking fees and the citations they receive. What justifies these costs? Once again, Rasmussen offered a better picture, showing the immense cost of maintenance for EWU’s parking lots. 

“Every year the lots are striped and ADA stalls are repainted,” said Rasmussen. “We hire out the cost to crack seal and repair asphalt.  The last location we repaired and sealed cost over $29,000 and that was a smaller lot. Our larger lots will reach over $300,000 to repave. Garbage is picked up daily and the lots are plowed during the winter months.”

With hundreds of thousands of dollars dedicated to these lots, and thousands more in unpaid parking fines, it’s easy to see the reason behind these new policies. Come fall, EWU will finally start cracking down on violators, using the boot.