Illegal parking creates problems

by Lynne Kozarek

University employee Lorraine Haley pays more than $30 each month to park in Contract Lot 169 on the St. Paul campus. Despite the hang tag in her window, she says she often cannot find a space in the lot because so many people are parking there without a contract.
“I’m so disturbed,” Haley said. “Many people in the building feel that they can’t leave campus because there are no parking spaces when they come back.”
Haley and other staff members have been raising this issue with the University Police Department and with Parking and Transportation Services for three years. Haley said the University has not taken sufficient steps to correct the continuing problems in Lot 169.
Haley and 31 other University employees who have a contract in Lot 169 signed a petition in January 1996 saying they were unhappy with the number of people constantly being allowed to park in the lot illegally.
University Police Sgt. Mike Listul received a memo regarding the petitions Dec. 8, and he said it was the first he had heard of the problem.
Victoria Nelson, associate director of Parking and Transportation Services, said she has received several petitions regarding control of illegal vehicles.
“We have met with the University Police Department about this issue,” Nelson said. “They very carefully monitor facilities, but at the start of new quarters we see increased abuse.”
Nelson also said that the department would work with the police to tow the vehicles.
Dr. Paul Rosenblatt, professor of family social science, also has a contract for Lot 169. He said towing is not the answer.
“This week parking services seems to be on top of the problem,” Rosenblatt said, “but there are times when I’ve gone around and counted, and 40 to 50 percent of the cars don’t have a hang tag.”
Paul Tschida, assistant vice president of the Department of Health, Safety and Transportation, said all parties are doing everything they can to correct the problem.
“No one has got enough money to have someone sitting there all the time,” Tschida said. “All we can do is keep working on it.”
Rosenblatt said he was concerned about disabled faculty members who have to park far from buildings because of violators in the lot.
Tschida was also distressed that disabled employees could not park close enough to buildings.
“We are trying to find one lot solely for handicapped parking,” Tschida said, “then have disabled patrons take a bus directly to work.”