FWPD to enforce stricter penalties for parking violations

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    Dude, where’s my car?

    Fort Worth police will become stricter in enforcing parking rules by towing vehicles in addition to issuing parking tickets, TCU’s neighborhood police officer said.

    Neighborhood Police Officer Mark Russell said police will tow vehicles with more than one outstanding parking ticket. He said police will also tow vehicles parked in spots where police have received multiple complaints.

    Russell said vehicles parked in hazardous places such as street intersections will also be towed.

    Police have written more than 100 tickets in the area surrounding campus since Jan. 5, and about 99 percent of those vehicles had TCU parking permit stickers, Russell said. Few people in the city pay their parking tickets, he said.

    “If the tickets aren’t making sense to people, then we’re going to start towing vehicles to make a point,” Russell said.

    Parking fines imposed by the Fort Worth Police Department range from $25 to $200, Russell said.

    Many parking signs in the area have been stolen, but Russell said he expects a traffic engineer to replace them by next month. The absence of signs is no excuse to park illegally, he said.

    TCU Police Chief Steve McGee said TCU Police will continue its policy to issue three citations before booting or towing a vehicle.

    McGee said the problem is not insufficient parking but that students want to park close to school buildings. He said he has seen students cruise the parking lots near school buildings for up to 15 minutes in search of a parking space when there are spots available in the more distant parking lots.

    “It’s like shopping during Christmas time,” McGee said. “There are some people who will drive around for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot close to the mall.”

    McGee said parking lots at TCU are close to campus compared to other schools. The university offers shuttle service to students parked in distant lots.

    “There are options we provide that other universities don’t,” McGee said.

    Parking fines issued by TCU Police range from $50 to $100, he said.

    Genesis Sultemeir, a sophomore biology major, said she got a parking ticket in December for parking in front of an elementary school over the weekend.

    “I think a lot of students don’t purposely park illegally,” Sultemeir said. “They just don’t read the signs carefully or forget.”

    Sultemeir said students should receive more education about parking in the area. The parking situation on campus needs improvement, she said, and a parking garage may help solve the problem.

    Mandy Anderson, a sophomore business major, said towing vehicles to deter students from parking illegally may work. Anderson, whose car was towed in August because of a parking violation, said she finds some of the parking signs confusing.

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