Dealing with the school parking lot

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Dealing with the school parking lot

ECC student, Umair Chowdhury, preparing to leave the parking lot after finishing his last class of the day.

ECC student, Umair Chowdhury, preparing to leave the parking lot after finishing his last class of the day.

Valeria Mancera-Saavedra

ECC student, Umair Chowdhury, preparing to leave the parking lot after finishing his last class of the day.

Valeria Mancera-Saavedra

Valeria Mancera-Saavedra

ECC student, Umair Chowdhury, preparing to leave the parking lot after finishing his last class of the day.

Valeria Mancera-Saavedra, Staff Writer

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If you are one of the many people who drive to school every day, you can understand how difficult it can sometimes be to find a good parking spot around campus. Or even how frightening it can be to drive in intense weather conditions or near other drivers exhibiting a lack of caution.

The Elgin Community College campus has more than 3,500 parking spaces, including handicapped spaces.

According to Chief David Kintz, ECC has a series of administrative procedures that control all sorts of issues. The parking procedure has some rules such as parking within a parking space, parking overnight is prohibited and restrictions in some areas such as staff parking or handicap parking.

“These parking rules apply to everyone on campus, including faculty and staff,” Kintz said.

To ensure that rules are followed by drivers around campus, there is normally a minimum of three officers who are frequently rotating between checking the lots and walking into the various buildings, and although the officers are aware of each movement, violations of the rules still occur. Kintz states that in 2018, the police department wrote nearly 300 tickets and warnings for various parking violations.

According to Kintz and Food Pantry Co-Officer, Emilio Edemni, at the start of the fall term in 2018, the police department partnered with Phi Theta Kappa and started an amnesty program called Food For Fines, which allowed people who received parking tickets to pay them by making a donation of five non-perishable items per ticket to the Spartan Food Pantry. Approximately 265 food items were collected and donated to the pantry during the semester.

“We were even able to collect on a ticket that was several years old,” Kintz said. “The person took care of it through the amnesty program.”

The amnesty was so successful that it is being considered bringing it back for the next fall.

Regarding accidents in the parking lot, Kintz states that there are more cars at the beginning of the semester in the lot, which means more chances for crashes, and this can also be seen with each snowfall.

“Generally, the first snow is the concern because drivers have not acclimated to these conditions yet,” Kintz said. “Our grounds staff does an excellent job of monitoring severe weather and making sure the lots are plowed and salted to help minimize this risk.”

In other aspects, some students say that most of the time it is difficult to find a good spot to park because the spaces closest to the buildings are always taken.

“It is hard to find a good spot,” said Emily Miranda, an ECC student. “Although I sometimes get lucky and get to park near the building I’m heading to.”

At the College of DuPage campus a few years ago, students were offered the option to pay extra money in exchange for a better parking spot throughout the semester. The fee was approximately $80, according to Cheryl Moen, Enrollment Associate of College of DuPage. However, this service was discontinued approximately three years ago.

Although ECC does not have this service, there are students who would be willing to pay this fee.

I would consider paying that money,” said Michael Kalusa, ECC student. “I hate walking from the far back lot.”

The police department welcomes any questions regarding parking lot policies. Call the police department at x7778 from any campus phone or stop by and visit their office located in D140.