Parking at UTM—the reason for many a students headache, the source of frequent complaints for the parking office and overall, one of the most hotly contested services offered on campus.
Limited parking space, an unforgiving ticketing process and high parking costs cause many students to grumble at UTMs Parking and Transportation Services for most of their university careers. But is it justified? Is parking really that bad at UTM? Or are drivers simply not following parking protocol?
With regards to ticketing, Parking and Transportation Services maintains that the majority of ticket complaints are unfounded. Students, staff and visitors often park in a lot not designated by their permit, change their vehicle or license plate without updating their permit information or let their permit expire. According to Alina Constantin, an administrative assistant with Parking Services, officers are following the Parking Services rules and regulations as outlined in our brochure. Enforcement should affect only those individuals that are not abiding by the rules and regulations.
But many students disagree. Third-year history and classics student Joshua Sumi admits that while some of the parking tickets hes received are his fault, others are not.
I parked in the proper parking lot that my pass permits, and due to a slight snow fall, my pass was covered, said Sumi. The result: a $20 ticket. Heaven forbid someone get a little cold and wipe some snow off the windshield to view a pass.
If a ticket has been falsely issued, the authority to suspend the ticket lies with the City of Mississauga Parking Enforcement. Parking Services can only review the ticketing officers notes and send a withdrawal request to the city. Students with a legitimate objection to a ticket should thus head to court.
Anthony Nazarov, a fifth-year biology and psychology double major, made the mistake of losing his parking pass in November 2009. Based on his part-time employee status with the psychology department, Nazarov requested a permit replacement for $25. (Students do not receive replacements).
Nazarov is only paid every three months, so his employee file was deactivated when he requested the permit replacement. Parking Services rejected the request. Two months later, Nazarov received the pass after he wrote to the Parking Committee and Human Resources, which corrected the clerical error.
They see the difference [between professor and student] and they right away assume that youre cheating the system, says Nazarov. They dont want to deal with it.
The biggest complaints on students lips are parking costs and inadequate parking space. The Erindale College Council just approved a 3% increase on all parking passes and a $1 increase on the $12 maximum daily pay-and-display charge. Profits from the fee hike will fund the construction of a parking deck in Lot 8, which will offer 290 additional parking spaces by September 2010. The parking deck will replace the spaces lost due to the elimination of Lot 2 and Lot 9 to make way for the new Instructional Centre and the Health Sciences Complex.
At the latest Erindale College Council meeting, UTMSU president Joey Santiago brought up the point that students cant afford to pay greater costs to replenish services that were taken away. The current solution will, however, create room for new campus facilities without infringing on green space.
Paul Donoghue, UTMs chief administrative officer, warned visitors and university affiliates back in June that construction of both the Instructional Centre and the may raise parking issues in the 2009/2010 term.
There’s no way to avoid this. People will be inconvenienced because of the limited parking. Its a huge challenge for us. They hoped that the excess parking capacity on campus last year would be enough to make up for the spaces being taken out of service.
Fourth-year art & art history specialist Amanda Haller contends with the issues of space and high costs by taking the bus to campus for daytime classes and studying at the library on evenings and weekends, when the $2.50 per half hour day rate drops to $1. The option of avoiding a full-year parking pass works for Haller only because she lives nearby.
I live close enough that the bus ride is only forty minutes and the bus is free… sometimes the bus works out better anyway, because I can show up at 1:55 for a 2 p.m. class and not worry about taking 15 plus minutes to find a spot, said Haller.
Some students choose not to park on campus at all. While the city of Mississauga tries to ensure that all drivers park legally, some students have found creative ways to combine the U-Pass with a vehicle. This allows them to cut travel time drastically by parking in certain off-campus areas. City of Mississauga Parking Officers boot students out of some of the more obvious locations, but students claim other spots remain undetected. The battle between patron and administration continues.