/Along for the ride: A look into parking violations

Along for the ride: A look into parking violations

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Taylor Boydstun
Staff Writer

It’s no secret that parking tickets are given out frequently, this year seemingly worse than years past in the eyes of many students.
Troy University traffic monitor Hershel Benefield spends the majority of his shift patrolling various campus lots in search of traffic violators.
Benefield allowed a Tropolitan student journalist to accompany him for a ride-along in order to gain insight on the matter.
During the ride-along, Benefield encountered a faculty member’s car parked illegally in the towing zone outside the Trojan Center.
According to Benefield, the police chief had tipped him off because the car had been parked there for a while.
“They shouldn’t do that,” said Benefield. “They should know better.”
As he finished explaining the violation and began to write the ticket, the owner of the vehicle came outside to defend himself as well as his reasons for parking there.
However, Benefield simply advised him to speak with the campus police chief on the matter.
Perry Metzler, a sophomore hospitality management major from Atmore, was cautiously delivering a heavyweight item to Newman Center when he received a $75 ticket for his parking violation.
“I wasn’t able to find a parking spot in the parking lot,” said Metzler. “Since I just had to drop something off, I pulled into a handicap spot and turned on my hazard lights, hoping to indicate that I wasn’t really parking there.”
After returning to his vehicle just a few minutes later, Metzler found the parking ticket.
“I understand the rules, but it’s very frustrating because at the time, I felt there was really no alterative option. There were still seven handicap spots available in the lot, but nowhere just to pull in for a few minutes.”
While students may see cars parked along yellow curbs from time to time, they are not allowed to park there.
Oftentimes, visitors park in these areas with special permission from the university.
“Usually if you see a white curb, it’s for faculty and staff; a black curb is for commuters; a red curb is for residents,” said Benefield.
According to campus police, parking ticket fines range from $10 to $75, most of them being $10. This money then goes into the university’s general fund, which is used for various university expenses.
Benefield’s advice to students is to simply avoid parking in the wrong locations.
“The whole system is designed for the residents to stay parked in the resident lots and the commuters to park in the commuter lots,” said Benefield. “They shouldn’t mingle, but they do.”
With more students than parking spots, following these guidelines proves to be difficult.
With this in mind, Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves has said that a new lot, to be located near the Trojan Center and to house 600 new parking spots, is in the works.