Time to change parking policy

Parking on this campus is a headache, and finally the university is doing something about it. Construction of a 190-space parking lot behind the Sports Pavilion and Aquatics Center begins this month. Increasing parking spots on campus from 3,500 to 3,700 isn’t a fix, but it’s a start.

With the increase in parking availability, parking services should rethink its strict “booting” policy. University Police attach an immobilizing device, known as a “boot,” to your car after four non-permit violations or after two permit violations. Cars are booted even if past fines have been paid in full.

Parking services implemented the policy six years ago to punish repeat offenders who had the means to keep paying the tickets and continue to park illegally, said Merrill Silverman, assistant director for university police and manager for parking and technical services. The rationale is that these drivers stop other, law-abiding motorists with permits from accessing spots. But it’s simply unfair to make motorists pay twice for their offenses.

With more parking, the rationale for this restrictive policy falters.

The new lot, administrators say, is just the beginning. Eugene Sunshine, NU senior vice president for business and finance, said the university eventually will build a garage.

Drivers, rejoice.