Parking woes continue as officials enforce policies

The complaints from students about parking on campus seem the same every year. The issue has various sides, but officials say the rules must be followed.

“Students need to adhere to rules and regulations and park in designated parking areas,” said officer Evelyn Anderson of the Florida A&M University Police Department.

Anderson, said, “our primary function is protection of persons and property, but we work in conjunction with parking services and we are all one unit.”

But some students say it seems as if the Parking Services employees and towing companies are trying to make students suffer for trying to get to class.

“Students park because they have to get to class, if there was ample parking we would not have to park illegally,” said Tiffany Bennett, 21, a third-year elementary education student from Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s terrible because there is not enough parking close to the buildings that students frequent,” said Carl Forde, 22, who is from Fort Lauderdale.

“Anytime you complain they always say there is the stadium, but that is not close to any building,” Forde said.

Assistant Police Chief, James Lockley said there are roughly 4,600 parking spaces in all on campus and 2,300 for students.

He said a lack of convenient spaces during the day occurs, but at night students have more options. “Parking is enforced 24/7, but at night police officers generally don’t tow,” he said.

There is no free parking on campus Lockley said, and there is no bias toward students or faculty regarding parking.

And he says generally the early bird gets the worm because more spaces are available in the morning.

But Lockley said the problem is not unique to FAMU because many universities have parking space problems.

“We need to create more parking for the new buildings we are creating,” he said. “There is not easy solution.”

Forde, a graduating computer science student, said that safety is a big reason why most students park in reserved spaces at night.

“Students can be robbed going to the parking garage or stadium,” he said.

“After 5p.m. I think you should be able to park wherever you want and not be given a ticket.”

“If students need assistance we do have escorts who will take students to and from their vehicles, the dorms or wherever they need to go,” said Sherri Luke, FAMU PD officer.

“We provide the SAFE Team, so there is a safety factor built in,” Luke added.

“It has gotten out of hand, ticketing is enough if we’re not in a fire lane,” said Tiffani Davis, 20, a second-year business administration student from Dallas.

“We are all college students with college student budgets,” Davis said.

Local towing companies said that students often blame them for taking the vehicle when the school calls them to certain areas.

Professional Parking Services located on Lake Bradford Road wanted to students to know that they also are willing to help students.

“We will tow students’ vehicles if they are stranded and need help,” said Tanya, the office manager for Professional Parking.

Some students park illegally all the time and never get towed, but that is not the case for everyone.

Danielle Leath, 20, a third-year pharmacy student knows firsthand of the stress involved in having a vehicle towed.

Attending a house party Leath parked in a regular spot and returned to find that her car was gone.

Thinking that it had been stolen she called the Tallahassee Police Department, after asking what her tag number was and where she had been, they informed her that the car had been towed.

“I felt relieved when they told me it was towed and not gone forever,” she said.

The officer gave her the towing company’s phone number and said that was the company that usually towed in the area.

She called the company and was told that she could not pick her car up until normal business hours.

Leath then stayed with a friend for the night and was taken to get her car the next morning. The cost to get it back was $80.

Ebonie Ledbetter contributed to this report.