Some students at the University of Rhode Island have learned the hard way where not to park on campus after they return to find a parking ticket wedged beneath their windshield wiper.

That’s what happened to senior Gabe Dispoto, who returned to his car to find a ticket waiting for him because he was parked in a resident hall lot around 10 p.m. He said that he briefly parked in a spot reserved for faculty and staff but didn’t think anything of it because it was late at night.

“I thought since offices were closed I would be able to park there that late at night for just five minutes,” Dispoto said.

However, Manager of Parking and Transportation Services Joe Paradise, said that not all lots are fair game after 4 p.m. According to Paradise, the only parking lots anyone can park in after 4 p.m. is the Fine Arts South parking lot, Boss Ice Arena and the lot at Briar Lane.

“They are all visitor lots, so they aren’t enforced at all,” Paradise said.  

One of the more common problems Paradise said parking services sees is students parking in the resident hall parking lots overnight. “They tend to think they can take their car out of Keaney and put it in front of their hall and park there all night, but they can’t do that,” Paradise said.

Nonetheless, Paradise does say that there are some published policies that aren’t strictly enforced. “Another thing that really is not known here, it’s published, but really not signed well either is the commuter lots. You’re not supposed to park in the commuter lots overnight,” he said. Before the university does start enforcing that policy, Paradise said they’d make sure it’s signed correctly.

Paradise said that it’s important for students and faculty to know that everyone who has a permit is required to park in their designated lot at all times. “Monday through Friday, between seven and four, everyone is required to have a parking permit displayed on their vehicle and park in the designated lot for that permit,” he said.

Starting this year, the university has implemented a new ticketing policy. The university issues two types of tickets depending on their violation. Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal Tickets, issued by the police department, are distributed for parking violations. RITT can be issued for things like students parking in faculty lots, anyone impeding a travel lane, handicapped violations and reserved parking violations. RITT are $85 “across the board,” according to Paradise, with the exception of handicapped violations, which start at $100. Tickets can either be paid or appealed in Rhode Island Traffic Court.

The other type of ticket is a citation issued by the university. A $50 fine will be issued to those who park in lots without a registered permit. However, Paradise said they are giving students five days to come in to parking services where they will waive the fine if the student purchases a permit.

“The whole idea behind it was to get people to do the right thing and register their car and buy a permit and it’s really been successful this year,” he said, “we have a lot of people doing that. We gave them the tickets, they’ve taken, advantage, they’ve bought the permits, they’ve done the right things and now all they have to do is park in their designated lot.”

The university also issues a $20 fine for failure to display a permit. Paradise said that displaying a permit is the only means the university has to identify who has a registered permit and that faculty, staff and students are all required to display a permit. Parking services asks that if you don’t receive your permit, to contact URI Parking and Transportation Services and let them know.

Although students may roll their eyes at the sight of a ticket on their car, Paradise said the towing at the university, although not obsolete, has decreased remarkably since last year. According to Paradise, the university towed roughly 600 cars last year before the ticketing went into place, but this year has towed only around 100 cars.

“You don’t see the tow trucks here as much as you used to. I think people are compliant with the citations and rightly so,” Paradise said. “It’s just kind of to keep people honest and doing the right thing. It is working.”

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