The parking stories that are posted, such as this one, were submitted to BU Now as part of our Parking Horror Stories contest.
By Alina Yohn
It was the first day of classes, Fall Semester 2008. I was incredibly excited because I had just moved into an apartment in the Kraig mansion with my boyfriend a week and a half before, and we had just gotten a sweet kitten.
All in all, things were going great. I felt like I had turned over a new leaf, and of course classes were starting, and I love the feeling of starting with a clean slate. And above all, I was now a commuter status student for the first time in my Bloomsburg “career.” I could actually DRIVE to campus instead of walking in the freezing cold or taking the bus crowded full of annoyed people who were either ridiculously loud or painfully quiet.
It seemed like things were going my way… FINALLY. I woke up at 7, got ready for work, double checked bloomu.edu/today to make sure that I couldn’t pick up my parking permit until Tuesday (my last name starts with a Y…so I’m at the end of the line up) and then booked it to the commuter lot by the library. I ran to work (I work in the Sociology department on campus from 8-11 on Mondays) and then I went to my first class at 11. This was a physics class that lasts two hours. Luckily, I had the class with my boyfriend, which made it better, and afterward we decided to grab our cars and head to lunch. He parked close to my car, and upon arriving at our cars, I noticed that I had received a parking ticket, but he did not.
Frustrated, I thought that maybe it was an accident, and that if I went to the police station, the whole mess would be sorted out. Boy was I wrong. I headed over to the police station, but noticed that all of the metered lots were full of students who were for some reason still moving in, so I was forced to park in the Tri-Level… another commuter status parking lot.
Upon parking, we ran into a meter maid, and talked to her about the parking tickets. “You need to have a black decal from last semester to park in the commuter lots,” she said. Well that explains why my boyfriend didn’t get a parking ticket…. he was considered a commuter over the summer… lucky for him.
“But this is my first semester being a commuter student, and I was instructed that I couldn’t pick up a parking pass until tomorrow…. so what was I supposed to do? There is no shuttle that runs where I live to bring me here… and I had no choice… I had to go to class. What should I have done?” I asked.
“You should have received a letter in the mail telling you to park up on upper campus,”
“I never received a letter.”
“Well you could have parked in the metered lots,” she chimed in.
“The metered lots were all full, as they are right now. Besides, my class alone is a 2 hour class, and I worked before that. The meters, at best, only go up to 45 minutes. So what should I have done?”
The meter maid was quiet. “I would go talk to the police station. Hopefully they can clear this up. You should be fine parking here for now, but I’m not making any promises.”
So I ran. I ran to the decals stations FIRST, not the police station. There was no way I would get another ticket, and I would fight to get my decal early if that was what it would take. After explaining my situation, I got my decal with ease, and then I went to see my boyfriend, who was arguing with his person about the decal.
“But I LIVE there… here is my lease! I have my license, my registration, and my lease, so what more do you need?!”
“Well your landlord didn’t call us to put you on the list…” responded the decal man.
“What’s the problem here?”, I asked. “I have a decal… I received one, he lives with me, I already received a parking ticket, so what is the problem here NOW?” I confronted the man.
“You live at the same address?” he asked.
“Yeah… the same building, apartment, bed…. what more would you like to know?”
“And you got a decal?”
“Let me see your information.”
I gave the man my information, but held on to the tiny decal that had caused so much trouble. The man looked at me, took my boyfriend’s information, and typed it in the computer.
“The woman who gave you that decal shouldn’t have given it to you. Your landlord has not contacted us with a list of tenants who need decals. But I can’t take that away from you… and I don’t think you’d give it to me, so I will let this slide. I’m on the line doing this… but you look like you’ve had quite the day. So here, take the permit and go.”
After much thanks, we headed to the Tri-Level to put on our decals. And there was another ticket on my windshield. Rushing to the police station, I passed a throng of people outside of the police station, ranting about the tickets they had received that morning. When I approached them, each story was being told, each as bad as the other. The throng told me, after hearing my own story, that I would be directed to file an appeal.
So I went to the police station. As I approached the desk, the exhausted officer behind the desk glanced up at me with eyes that said it all …”not another one.” I politely explained my situation, and she, along with the meter maid, was speechless. “I can only tell you to fill out a form for an appeal. That’s the best I can do.” So I began to fill it out, explaining my story in ink, instead of voice.
“Oh, and I will need your $30.00.”
“The tickets; you received 2 right? I’ll need the money before you file that.”
“You mean to tell me, that I have to PAY you the money BEFORE my case is even heard? That’s not even democratic! Why can’t I file this, and then you hear my case, and then if I am found at fault, I pay then?!”
That was the response. So I quickly wrote the check, finished the appeal, and ran out of the office… screaming “I HATE THIS CAMPUS!!!!! WHAT A BUNCH OF BEAUROCRATIC BULLS&*T!” … right in front of the president. My face reddened, he stared at me, shook his head, and walked away.
And I turned the other direction, tears in my eyes, and skipped the remaining 5 minutes I had left for lunch and headed to my next class.
A few weeks later…. I just received (ironically, two days ago) a letter in the mail, forwarded to me by my mom who lives 2 and a half hours away. Simply stated, it says that my appeal was overturned, and that if I wanted to … well… appeal the appeal, I could make a 5 minute presentation in front of a panel who would decide the fate of my $30.00. However, the due date for the request was the 22nd of September. I received the letter the 4th of October. Why the university sent the letter to my home address instead of my campus address is beyond me… even though my contact information in STINF states that I reside in Bloomsburg. What an endless battle.