U’s no-parking policy rooted in ‘green space’

by Kamariea Forcier

University students are more likely than other local college students to find tickets on their cars when parked in what they believe is a legal parking spot.
The University has a policy that forbids parking, “except in designated areas where posted.”
This means if students park on University property, they’d better make sure there’s a sign permitting it.
At the University of St. Thomas, students either pay for a parking permit or may park on side streets controlled by the St. Paul Police, said a safety and security monitor at the school. The same policy is in place at Hamline University, The College of St. Catherine and Macalester College.
Paul Tschida, assistant vice president for Safety and Health Management, said the University was concerned with the “aesthetics” of the campus when it made the blanket rule against parking.
“If you didn’t prohibit it, you’d have signs everywhere,” he said.
Tschida said there were signs announcing the rule on the St. Paul campus but not on the Minneapolis campuses.
“Ordinarily, it’s obvious. You can’t just pull up to any building and park there,” on the East Bank campus, he said.
The University’s Board of Regents decided in 1979 that there would be no free parking on the University campus. In 1992, a University task force was formed to assess the policy and focus on areas of improvement in Parking Services. Yet the University did nothing to post University areas as no-parking.
University Police Lieutenant Regan Metcalf said in an interview two weeks ago that the regents’ decision was considered part of a plan to promote “green space” on the University campus. Years ago, the regents recognized a need for fewer cars and more greenery, she said.
But the policy still leaves students confused as to where they can park.
Ryan Lieske, a health sciences student, said he has received three tickets in the last year.
Lieske, who parked in the contract lots after dark, said there are no signs forbidding after-dark parking though he has received tickets for leaving his car there.
“I always get caught staying places two minutes,” he said. “They always seem to get me.”
Sgt. Mike Listul of the University Police said he hears that excuse all the time.
“‘I was just going in for a minute,’ or ‘I forgot my permit,'” are common excuses given by those who find officers ticketing their cars, he said.