Hangtags gone like the Dodo

Katie Gile

Fall 2011 will live in infamy as the first semester UNF Parking Services went without the option of a “hangtag” permit and opted for affixed decals.

The policy change came about from a UNF Parking Advisory Board meeting in March 2011. The University Police Department reported a high frequency of permit thefts on campus. As a means of counteracting the thefts and eliminating tickets for failure to properly hang the permit, Parking Services made the change for the 2011-12 school year.

The reaction from students regarding the new policy is mixed.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Megan Hugo, a UNF elementary education junior. “If you got in a car accident or your car was in the shop, you’d be out of luck.”

“I’m consistently changing cars, and it’s really difficult to deal with that when you have a sticker,” said Lissa Brazile, a UNF biology senior.

Others don’t see what all the fuss is about.

“I think it’s simpler, putting a decal on your windshield is pretty easy,” said Timothy Gregory, a UNF criminal justice freshman.

“It’s convenient; you don’t have to worry about losing it,” said Suzanne Maldarelli, a UNF nursing graduate student.

Vince Smyth, the director of UNF Auxiliary Services, could foresee the immobility of the decals being an issue at the Parking Advisory Board meeting in March. Still, reducing crime played a larger role in the decision making.

“A hanging permit is much easier to steal than one that’s fixed to a windshield,” Smyth said. “If we’re able to reduce the number of permit thefts and eliminate tickets for people who have permits but forgot to put them up, those positives are worth it.”

Some students don’t mind following the new policy, but mind the kinks that come with such a newborn idea — like getting a duplicate decal for students with more than one car.

Andrew Landis, a UNF communications senior and Osprey Radio station manager, is one student with this issue. He and his sister carpool and had shared a hangtag between their two registered cars for years. Upon applying for a duplicate decal this semester, they were denied.

“I can understand why they’d change to stickers instead of hangtags, to cut down on thefts and people using the hangtags illegally,” he said. “It’s kind of a bummer, though, when we’re following the rules … but we can’t get another sticker for our car when both of them are registered.”

Matthew Yost, the chief justice of UNF Student Government Judiciary, said students can go to Parking Services and receive up to 5 temporary passes — lasting up to a week — per semester.  Or they can go into the office and apply for a duplicate decal to park in Lots 14 and 53, as long as the car is in their name, he said.

“We’ll be talking about [this issue] this year,” he said. “The idea of transferring the permits, as necessary, that’s definitely something I’ll bring to the attention of the [parking advisory] board.”

Another major thread in the web of student disdain is parking lot congestion.

“We need more parking, and it doesn’t seem like the faculty is really pushing for it,” said John Jordan, a UNF finance senior. “Until something is done about it, all we’re going to hear [are] more, ‘I couldn’t find a spot, now I’m late to class’ stories.”

Part of the reason for this discontent is the ratio of permits sold to spaces available. In the premium lots and garage levels, there is one spot for every 2.5 permits sold. In the discounted lots (14, 18, and 53) there are 3,506 spaces available, but no cap on the number of permits sold.

Smyth said the number of parking lots/garages isn’t going to change any time soon, considering Lot 53 at UNF Hall remains unfilled most days.

“When it’s needed, we’ll increase the number of spaces available,” Smyth said. “We’re not going to increase the number of spaces in the core of the campus — any space available will be utilized for academic and service buildings, not parking.”

Some students disagree about the appropriate use of space.

“They keep putting up buildings and there’s not enough room. They need to fix it. We need more parking, more space,” Brazile said.

“You have to get here before 10 [a.m.] just to get a decent parking spot, then catch the shuttle on top of that,” said Jasmine Flournoi, a UNF graphic design freshman. “It’s ridiculous and it takes up a lot of time.”

Yost said students should voice their concerns regarding these matters in any way they can. Students can call, e-mail or visit Parking Services. If the concerns are valid, they will be passed on to the Parking Advisory Board.

“Feel free to e-mail me, and I’ll do my best to help,” Yost said. “[Students] sharing their concerns helps me to help them.”

What do you think? Have a parking issue? Go to unfspinnaker.com and comment on the story. Or, email [email protected] with your letters.