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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

To park or not to park?

Students struggle to balance UNI’s parking tickets
The Multimodal Transportation Center provides parking for B pass holders.

UNI students know all too well the dreadful feeling of seeing a rectangular orange parking ticket on their car door or tucked under the windshield after class but, never fear, the battle between UNI’s students and Public Safety may not be as drastic as it seems. 

UNI Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Helen Haire said the money collected from those ticket fees goes back into the parking division for maintenance and other needs for the parking lots around campus.  

“We get a lot of people who have the expired meters, we get people parking out of their designated zones,” Haire said of the most frequent ticket receivers. “You’ve got your one-offs where somebody parks in a handicap or somebody parks over the 15-minute time in a drop-off location, those types of things.” 

With more than 8,300 parking stalls to maintain, according to UNI Public Safety, these fees range from $10 to $15 all the way up to $200 for the more serious offenses, like parking in a handicapped spot. Tickets may also be issued every two hours for the same violation at the same location, and those fees can prevent a student from registering for classes or obtaining transcripts if unpaid. 

The map above provides information on the designated parking lots on and surrounding UNI campus. Signs at the entrances to all parking lots designate its pass holder availability and the times students can park in the parking lot. (COURTESY)

Sophomore political science and psychology student Aleah Limkemann says that she knows little about where funds go when a ticket has been paid, and that knowing would ease her mind upon receiving one. 

“I would be much more fine with getting a parking ticket if I knew where the money went, but I have no idea where it goes,” she said after receiving a violation back in October.

As per the Public Safety website, vehicles will be towed or impounded if the vehicle has accumulated a total of five unpaid parking citations or a total fine of $50 in unpaid tickets. Additionally, a vehicle can be removed from the premises if it has been improperly or illegally parked for more than eight hours, or where the parking poses a traffic hazard or obstruction.

A vehicle will be labeled a habitual offender if 10 tickets have been cited within the academic year.

Senior and public administration major Gavin Powell describes the tickets as “exorbitant” and thinks there’s a better way to go about enforcing parking rules.

Powell too would be better off knowing where the money was ending up, saying, “Probably, at least if I could see the impact of it.”

Those who find themselves unaware of parking rules should review the parking manual ( before getting in too deep with tickets.

“We want students to park where they’re supposed to because the rules are there for a reason,” Haire added. 

Here are some tips to avoid those pesky fines: 

  1. Display your parking pass clearly on your rearview mirror. If you have not displayed it properly, you may receive a violation. If you have not ordered a pass, visit to purchase one, and check out the corresponding parking maps as well. 
  2. Park only in areas valid with your designated permit or park in a non-visitor metered area. Specific lots have times for use, which are usually 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Check out signs posted in the parking lots too. 
  3. If you receive a parking ticket, don’t fret — you can appeal the ticket within 10 days of the violation issue date via UNI parking’s website.
  4. Pay the tickets promptly! Late fees are $7 for each offense. 
  5. While most students on campus opt for the C or C Preferred (CP), you can always upgrade your ticket via the UNI Parking website. 
  6. Guests with visitor permits are not allowed in metered parking without paying — with the exception of Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts parking lot and the Multimodal Transportation Center (MTC). 

Contact UNI Parking, located in 30 Gilchrist Hall, open Monday through Friday, for more information or for any questions or concerns.

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