GV parking enforcement sparks conversation amongst students

GVL / Josh Alburtus

GVL / Josh Alburtus

Joshua Alburtus, Staff Writer

Concerns from Grand Valley State University students surrounding parking services have pushed the department’s ticketing procedures into conversations on campus.

The circumstances for ticketing at the university have long maintained the same general concepts. 

In order to park on GVSU’s campus without the risk of a ticket, parking permits must be purchased by students for each semester on Grand Valley’s Parking Services website.

There are a variety of passes are offered on both the Allendale and Pew campuses. The different types of passes include an on-campus living pass for $210 for a semester, a commuter pass for $240 and the Lot J commuter pass for $105.

Pew Campus residents also have passes available for $210 per semester and commuters can purchase the Seward Ramp pass for $105.

If a vehicle is found in violation of the university parking policies, parking services will issue a ticket for the vehicle, accompanied by a fine the driver must pay.

According to parking services, there are four different types of tickets issued by the department that result in different monetary fines.

Parking in fire lanes, handicap spaces or on sidewalks will cost $100. Parking without a valid permit will cost $35. Parking improperly, such as parking outside the yellow lines or not paying for a pay-to-park lot, will cost $30. Parking in a lot with an improper permit will cost a violator $25.

However, concerns over ticketing prices and methods have become a topic of discussion among the GVSU community in recent days, with student claims of “price gouging.”

Other concerns are more specific to the current campus climate, given the persistent presence of the COVID-19 virus. 

While trying to keep the campus community safe and healthy, students like Elle Briske are discouraged by their transportation options. 

“I hate that I have to choose between potentially exposing a busload of people to COVID and potentially getting a ticket when I need to go in for a COVID test,” Briske said.  

For some students who purchase permits, finding adequate parking space has come with its own challenges.

Camryn Sterken commutes to campus for classes and often experiences problems with finding spaces to park in with the correct permit parking lots.

“Whenever I come to class in the morning, I have to park in the H-Lot, which is on the complete opposite side of campus as where my class is because C-Lot, by Mackinac (Hall), is always full to the brim,” Sterken said.  

Student Dalton Sharpe believes that this issue is a result of individuals without permits parking on-campus. 

“This just ends up leading to over-parking in commuter lots and forces people who have permits to be stuck searching for a spot or having to park much farther away,” Sharpe said.

When parking does result in a ticket, those who believe they received a wrongful ticket can appeal their violations through a process offered by GVSU parking services. 

The appeals process for the campus community now operates solely online through a portal on the parking services webpage.

“Appeals will only be accepted within seven business days of a parking violation,” according to the portal entrance page. “Faculty, staff and students of GVSU are required to use the online appeal process.”

According to the page, those who’ve been ticketed and wish to file an appeal must access the portal and present a valid explanation regarding why the parking violation you received wouldn’t be considered lawful under the Traffic and Parking Ordinance set forth by GVSU. 

The appeal is then reviewed for a final decision by the university’s Traffic Judiciary.

In addition to other concerns, GVSU students like Amanda Vongkaysone have experienced difficulties and frustration with this appeals process.

After receiving a ticket in April of 2021, Vongkaysone said that she didn’t receive a decision on her appeal until Jan. 26, 2022.

“I get that COVID screwed a lot of things up,” Vongkaysone said. “I don’t appreciate how quick they are to cite students but yet take months to reply back.”

Sharpe said she believes that although high permit costs are most likely the core of the problem, much of the blame belongs to willful violators and not just parking services.

“So many people complain about getting tickets when they knew they were breaking the rules because they’re mad they got caught,” Sharpe said. “My opinion of parking services is that they’re mostly just students doing their job to make some money.”