Mar 31, 2009

A bittersweet parking development: firm policies maintain order

by Mandi Forth

Liberty University’s Police Department (LUPD) has decided to re-enforce the weekend and evening rules and regulations. Students will be towed if they are caught parking in the handicapped parking spaces without a valid handicap sticker, or if they are found parking in an RD parking place with the green diamond. They will also be towed if they are found blocking a fire hydrant, roadway or another vehicle.

“It’s more work for (LUPD), but students really shouldn't be parking in handicap parking or blocking a fire lane, that’s common sense and off campus you would be towed as well. So it’s not like they are being unfair,” junior Elaine Gordon said.

“The parking issues have gotten better although there are still those that will park in areas they are not supposed to, and they get towed,” Police Chief for LUPD Richard Hinkley said.

Last semester at this time, 591 cars had been towed. This year, the number has decreased to 493, according to Hinkley.

Beeline towing company, which does all of the towing for the university, has decided to reduce the rates that they charge for their services. The previous charge had been a $95 fee which was reduced to $85. They have also extended their pickup hours from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Helen Goff, an employee of Beeline who works with the dispatch and accounting said that the reasoning for the reduction in prices and fees is due to the decrease in gas prices.

Beeline has also reduced the gate fee for a vehicle being left over the weekend from $35 to $25, while completely eliminating the charge for leaving a vehicle on their property for more than 24 hours. Goff said that her experience dealing with Liberty students has been a good one.

“Their attitude has been great. Some have actually been very pleasant,” Goff said.

Even though Liberty and Beeline towing are enforcing the new stricter parking policy, some students have maintained a good attitude about the firm policies.

“As a commuter, I think it's great. It really bothers me when the dormitory students feel the need to drive to classes when they live walking distance away, and I live miles away. The parking situation is tough since the campus has limited space for it, and the policy discourages parking in the wrong places, it's definitely a help to me and the other commuters,” junior Hilary Lawson said.

Faculty and staff for Liberty have mixed feelings about the parking policy.

“It's worked pretty well so far. This is the first semester I've always
found a parking space in my assigned lot,” said Brian Melton, a history professor at Liberty. “People who get towed will still be mad if it's $5.”
But for Erika Anderson, who works for the DLP office at Liberty, the parking regulations at Liberty are confusing.

“I think it is a little ridiculous to tow a car without any warning, especially at North Campus, the parking over there is really confusing. I think if they are going to be towing cars they need to go back to painting the colored diamonds on the parking spot so that way it is completely clear,” Anderson said.

Many students have felt like there have been too many changes made to the parking situation over the past year. LUPD said that there will be no major changes for the upcoming Fall 2009 semester.

Contact Mandi Forth at
ajforth@liberty.edu.

 


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