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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
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Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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NMU has enough parking, Public Safety says

Photo by Lindsey Eaton: A student parked outside of their assigned parking lot has been given multiple tickets for the violation. These are several of 4,676 tickets that have been issued this academic year.

Finding that little yellow Public Safety envelope on the windshield, opening it and seeing the parking ticket can put a damper on anyone’s day.

Road construction has made driving routes more complicated this semester, but enough parking spaces are available and the number of parking tickets issued remains average, according to NMU Public Safety.

From academic years 2010 to 2017, the average annual total of parking tickets issued was 11,767, with an average number of 8,585 tickets that were actually billed to parking violators, according to data from Public Safety. The rest of the citations were excused, reduced to a warning, or were for vehicles not registered with the university and were therefore unbillable. The highest year for citations was the academic year of 2010-11 with 15,234 total tickets issued.

“At one point, we were writing a lot more tickets than we are today,” Parking Services Coordinator Patti Rizzio said. “That number has been reduced greatly over the years.”

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Total tickets issued for the current academic year, beginning July 1, are 4,676 as of Tuesday, with 3,144 billed to violators, 750 excused or reduced to a warning, and 285 citations that cannot be billed.

This total is not unusual, Rizzio explained, since most tickets tend to be issued in the early weeks of fall semesters, as drivers during this time may be unfamiliar with the parking system. Of all tickets issued, 20 to 25 percent tend to be excused or reduced to a warning, she added. Most tickets are $25, and citations can be appealed to the Parking Bureau and to the Appeals Board.

In the last five years, fall 2015 had the highest total number of tickets issued for the semester, with 8,109, and the winter semester of 2013 had the lowest total with 3,646 tickets. Whereas, winter 2017 had the highest number of tickets for a winter semester,
with 5,672.

The university puts money gained from parking tickets toward the construction and maintenance of parking lots, as well as all expenses of Public Safety Parking Services, including for salaries of full-time and student employees.

Commuter, faculty and staff Lot 11 by the LRC and general university parking Lot 21 on Center Street have never been full to capacity, Rizzio said. Lot 21 is less than a 10-minute walk to the farthest dormitory, she added.

“NMU does not have a parking problem,” Rizzio stated. “Although these parking lots may not be located exactly where [drivers] would like them to be, there is available parking. No university campus is going to have parking directly outside the building for every student throughout the day. It just isn’t going to happen.”

Construction costs vary by project, but an individual parking space can cost about $3,000. That high cost is why the university tries to use parking as efficiently as possible, Rizzio explained.

After the former Lot 46 on Wright Street was sold and transferred to the city to build its Marquette Municipal Service Center in May 2016, underutilized parking spaces were redesignated from commuter, faculty and staff parking to become resident parking. Lot 46 included 272 parking spaces, and 265 spaces were reassigned from Lots 22, 36 and 47 to compensate for that loss.

This year, 5,280 parking permits were sold, and there are 6,609 total parking spaces on campus, including at the PEIF and the Superior Dome. The spaces are available, but roundabout construction has made driving routes to get to them more complicated, said Mike Bath, director of Public Safety and Police Services.

“It’s easy to say that we don’t have enough parking,” Bath commented. “But we do have enough parking, and we have enough close parking. The construction just really messed with us this year because the normal entry points [to campus and the parking lots] weren’t there.

“The Parking and Traffic Committee is looking at changes for winter semester and significant changes for next fall,” he added.

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