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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Staff Editorial

Harsher punishment needed to curtail parking violators

It’s no secret that parking is a huge problem at UH. It could easily be the biggest frustration students have to deal with during their time on campus, and it seems to get worse every year with every new solution rolled out by the administration.

One has to wonder why administrators continue to utilize the same approach in dealing with a lack of spaces and oversold student permits. As it stands, students who park in a permit-only lot without the requisite permit are simply given a ticket as punishment.

Meanwhile, students who follow the rules and purchase permits are forced to park farther away from their desired lots or areas of campus, sometimes even having to park at street meters and pay for something they are supposedly entitled to with their permits.

While it’s been reported on several occasions that the University has oversold student permits (which created the problem), one aspect seems to always be overlooked — the punishments for parking violators.

Sure, a $25 or $50 ticket is a nuisance and can serve as a deterrent to many students, but some are happy to pay if it means getting to class on time or if they can otherwise afford it. Meanwhile, students who pay for permits drive through lot after lot while parking enforcement officials write ticket after ticket, and the problem remains — one student is essentially stealing from another.

UH needs to embrace a different solution, one that is certain to curtail the practice of space stealing: towing illegally parked vehicles. The University could designate an area where cars would be towed and released to students for a fee.

Students would be required to secure their own legal parking while waiting for their permits to arrive, thus prompting them to obtain one earlier to avoid the inconvenience.

What may seem on the surface to be harsh and over-the-top is nothing more than a lesson in responsibility. Once students get into the “real world,” they’ll find that parking illegally can get their vehicles towed, and going to a city-owned lot is a much bigger hassle than paying a parking ticket.

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