As a part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Why does parking and transit still give tickets when the parking lots are mostly empty?”
Daniel Carpenter, director of Parking and Transit Services for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in an email that Parking and Transit Services must enforce the rules and regulations even during low parking demand periods.
The department works with the Parking Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations on all policies and regulations for UNL parking facilities to the vice chancellor for Business and Finance, according to Carpenter.
“We have to assure permit compliance, provide customer service for permit holders who purchase different service levels and maintain fiduciary responsibility to cover programmatic expenses which are approximately $10 million annually,” Carpenter said.
According to Carpenter, parking lot capacity is not a factor in issuing citations. However, during the past several months, they have worked with a handful of other departments to expand access for people who have additional needs or responsibilities due to COVID-19.
In addition, Carpenter said Parking and Transit Services have expanded what permits they offer. Besides their usual annual and nine-month permits, they now offer one day, two days, one week, two weeks, three weeks and one month permits.
Through the first quarter, the number of citations issued has decreased by 15%, according to Carpenter. He said there are three violation types, including expired meters, no valid permit and parking in an unauthorized area. Before the pandemic, Carpenter said around 185 citations, including warnings, would be issued per day, or 900 per week.
“We have always issued warnings, voided citations or reduced the fine amount in order to help educate and communicate to customers and the campus community about the parking rules and regulations,” Carpenter said. “This year, we have continued this practice by increasing the number of voids and warnings by 9% and provided education on the rules and regulations with the understanding the campus stakeholders will comply with the rules and regulations.”