LOCAL: Provo's Parking Problem

Written by Kristin Clift on . Posted in Uncategorized

I went to pick up my car from Brigham Landing, where I left it to go out to eat with a friend. We came back to find that my car had disappeared. We both had missed the small sign at the large entrance warning us that this site was a University Parking Enforcement lot. It had been towed and it cost me $133 of hard-earned money I couldn’t afford to get it back.

When we went to go pick up my car, I couldn’t help but notice that University Parking Enforcement’s office was lavishly furnished, including large plasma TVs. Obviously they’re doing quite well making a profit off starving college students. While they’re watching their plasma TVs on their expensive leather couches, I’ll be selling plasma so I can pay my rent — and that’s only one of my parking woes.

I am sure the majority of students at Brigham Young University who own a car could commiserate with me on this statement; University Parking Enforcement is evil. There’s no better way to ruin your day than to come back to your car to find a ticket or a boot on it — or even worse, to not find your car at all.

Finding parking around Provo is hard enough as it is. Why do they have to put ridiculously absurd regulations on every single blessed available parking spot? Why do they all have different rules and hours so you never know when and where it’s okay to park?

University Parking Enforcement always says the rules are listed on the sign at the entrance to the parking lot. Is it just me or are these signs impossible to see and read? They are so tiny and never well-lit. How in the world are we supposed to stop and read the signs at the entrance while turning into a parking lot from a busy road without getting T-boned by speeding cars, in the dark or in the snow?

University Parking Enforcement is supposedly designed to make sure that residents of a complex will always have parking (or so they claim on their Web site), but there are several issues with this. One being that there is never enough parking at any given apartment complex. Also on that note, there is never enough parking around the university in general. They did recently build a whole new parking garage — but they gave it to the grad students. The grad students also took over the entire lot by the Wilkinson Center and the law school. The university responded to the outraged students by telling them that BYU is not a commuter school and then forced us to live within a two-mile radius of campus (which only leads to slumlords, but that’s a whole other issue).

Consider this: you’re a student in an art class and you have a huge project due – literally huge, and impossible to carry a mile in the snow. But there’s no parking. Or what about this scenario: you’re a girl who lives in an apartment complex that’s always supposed to have parking available, but there’s none. Ironically, there’s a nice empty parking lot right next to your apartment, but it’s forbidden for anyone to park there after midnight . You drive around the streets looking for a spot, but every inch of the curb is taken up by the overpopulated BYU community. You finally find a spot, but it’s ten blocks away. It’s nighttime, you’re alone and, of course, the street lights are either non-existent or broken, because the City of Provo isn’t too good at keeping the streets lit. As you walk home in the pitch black night, you wonder if you’ll be the headline in tomorrow’s newspaper as a robbery or rape victim.

There are some people who think parking enforcement is just another way to enforce the Honor Code by booting after midnight. Although this might not be the actual credo of University Parking Enforcement, I’m sure this fact appeals to BYU officials and housing management. This, too, is obnoxiously annoying for any gentleman who has the common decency to walk his date to the door and make sure she gets home all right by midnight, only to come back to find his car already with a boot on it. These situations I have described are just a few of the many scenarios in which students are taken advantage of by “the Nazis of the streets” (as they are less-than-affectionately called by everyone with whom I have discussed this matter).

Why did whoever let this company reign with terror in the streets of Provo ever think this was a good idea? We’re college students! We’re not made of money – that should be implied by our very nature. The supposed good reasons for this company’s actions only cause more detrimental problems than they solve. If I had my way, I would abolish University Parking Enforcement all together. However, knowing that that outcome would be impossible, I would like to suggest a few ways in which we can make this ordeal better:

The signs need to have the rules largely and clearly stated. They also need to be posted not only at the entrance of the parking lot — substantially lit or made of a brighter reflective material (as most signs without a hidden agenda to suck your money are) — but also should be placed in front of the parking stalls themselves. The signs’ revised placement would help drivers to not block traffic while trying to sit and read such a tiny sign and find all the rules. There needs to be some regularity in all of the lots everywhere to avoid confusion. Furthermore, the rates they charge college students should be a crime. They need to lower the rates and loosen up their Stalin-like grip.

Several people I talked to have tried to appeal their wrongful ticket/boot/tow and said the process and the paperwork are so ridiculous that it takes an incredible amount of time to ever get anything done. Since University Parking Enforcement is making enough money to afford flat screens in their offices, maybe they should put some of that money toward streamlining the appeals process or bettering their signs. University Parking Enforcement is a scam that convinces BYU housing management and local companies they are doing a noble thing, while simultaneously sucking every last penny from college students’ meager wallets.

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