Get the inside scoop on parking tickets

By Ryanne Belanger 
Fitchburg State can appear to be littered by parking tickets

Have you ever wondered why parking tickets are so expensive here at Fitchburg State while friends at other colleges pay much less? Well, we’ve got the inside scoop as to why parking tickets are so expensive and why we maybe shouldn’t be complaining as much as we do.

Mary Beth McKenzie, executive director of administrative services, had a lot to say on the subject. “Not all schools are the same,” she began. “They may have a different process for parking tickets, or handing out parking passes. Our school is different in the sense that our process is mostly preventative.” Students (and faculty) pay more money so that they are discouraged from committing more parking violations.

And it works, to some extent. On average, the school writes 2,000 parking citations in a year. “We see a peak in the fall, when new students are coming in not knowing the system of parking we have up and we do see an increase during the winter/ snow removal season. However, it does even out and steady itself,” McKenzie continued.

If you’re wondering about towing, Fitchburg State seldom tows.  McKenzie said it’s very rarely done, and “The only time we tow is if there is a major parking violation or the place a car is parked is a safety hazard.” “One reason we don’t tow often is there is an additional cost to tow; the average tow from one spot on campus to another is $90, and there’s even more charged to off-campus towing.”  “Another reason we don’t tow often is that it is not the message we want to be sending to people. We aren’t trying to send the message that we are in a punitive system. We want people to see that the parking policies are in place for a reason” said McKenzie.

A word of caution to those who have a parking ticket; it could hold you back from applying for classes. “After a certain amount of days, if you haven’t paid your ticket, we charge a late fee and we contact you. If you haven’t paid after that or if you have a certain amount of parking tickets (that number being four to five), then we place a hold on your account.” However, if you feel that you do not deserve the ticket there is some hope. “We do have an appeal process,” McKenzie said. An appeal process is something that is not found commonly on other campuses.