As the old saying goes, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Well, many students may be surprised to hear that TCU parking tickets aren’t on that list. Those little yellow citations shoved oh-so-lovingly under your windshield wipers are a way of life here at the university. Parking tickets aren’t a matter of if, but when.Let me say that everything having to do with parking here is a nightmare.
Just the mere mention of the p-word is enough to set some students off in a violent, wall-punching rage, and quite honestly, who can blame them? When one takes a good hard look at the situation, it becomes quite obvious that serious change is necessary.
First of all, that “parking space” you see isn’t always for parking. I see places all over campus that are just waiting to trap unsuspecting drivers in their grasps.
Earlier this year, there were several “legal-looking” spaces in the Moncrief Hall parking lot that were in the fire lane, and by several, I mean 10. These spaces were the real deal: No diagonal lines in the middle of them, and no signs saying not to park there. I don’t know about you, but when I position my vehicle in between the lines, I don’t look around frantically to see if I’m in a legal space or not. I just assume I’m good. What genius paints parking spots in the middle of a fire lane?
Needless to say, there were tickets galore, and some people even got the dreaded “not only do you have to pay a ridiculous fine, but now everyone’s going to laugh at your pathetic situation” boot. Eventually, this area was painted over, but the damage was already done.
Now, I’m always paranoid about a booby trap. My friends laugh at me because I inspect the area where I park my car like a customs agent would inspect an import of Columbian “sugar.” But hey, they aren’t the ones who will have to pay the fine.
Also, one has to look at those who issue the tickets. Sure, the TCU Police do a good job of keeping us safe, but I think a little leniency could go a long way.
In a Facebook group dedicated to improving campus parking titled “I Refuse To Pay the Parking Fines if TCU Doesn’t Make Parking Any Better,” whose membership is now pushing 800 members, the message board is filled with painful anecdotes.
One student wrote that he informed a nearby TCU officer he was going to park his car in the visitor lot for two minutes while he grabbed his belongings from Clark Hall. Thinking he had received permission, he returned to his car only to find a ticket attached to his windshield. When he asked the cop what happened, the officer responded that he was obligated to give him a ticket for parking in an unauthorized area. Ouch! Couldn’t he have been allowed to slide just that once?
In truth, all of the controversy about campus parking spurs from one thing: The astronomical costs of the tickets. Most offenses range from $50 to $100, roughly the price of a used Xbox. What the heck? We’re college students. We don’t exactly have a renewable source of income.
To put things in perspective, I would have to write about 13 columns in order to pay off a ticket for parking in the Coliseum lot — Uh, not like I did that or anything…
Sure, some might scoff that positioning one’s car between two lined spaces without getting a ticket isn’t rocket science, but as far as I’m concerned, they can all go back to SMU and keep their mouths shut. It’s time for TCU’s parking situation to change. Demand it.
David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday.