A total of 630 parking tickets were issues by Bowdon security between September 1 and October 21, a 61.5 percent increase from the same timeframe last year.
The vast majority of citations and warnings are given to student cars parked in faculty and staff or visitor lots.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols says that this rise in citations and warnings is not an accident.
“The community wants stricter parking enforcement and we’re giving it to them,” Nichols said, though he acknowledged that those calling for stricter enforcement are largely the faculty and staff whose parking spots are taken by student vehicles.
Last spring, the College contracted Walker Parking Consultants to evaluate campus parking.
The group submitted a report with suggestions to improve campus parking, and the increased enforcement is among the new policies informed by that report.
The boom ticketing has been concentrated in the lots nearest to the center of campus—namely the Coffin Lot, North and South Campus Drive, Dayton Lot, Russwurm Visitor Lot and Admissions Lot.
“The hundreds of visitors that come to campus everyday need access to those spaces,” said Nichols, “as do the employees of the College.”
The bulk of parking enforcement occurs Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Admissions lot is also strictly enforced on Saturdays because tours are offered every day but Sunday.
Anna Westervelt ’14 received a parking ticket in the Admissions parking lot just before the school year started.
Since the year had not officially started, she said that she thought it was okay to park there.
“I really don’t know the rules for parking here or the process for appealing a ticket,” she said. “I guess for me it was frustrating because it wasn’t made clear exactly.”
Nichols noted that the intensity of enforcement lessens after 3 p.m. because visitors and employees begin to leave, but students can receive tickets up until 6 p.m.
Nichols also said that security officers are not usually assigned a specific lot to sweep for violations. They typically incorporate lot sweeps into their daily routes and conduct them a few times a day.
Margaret Webster ’16 was ticketed in the Russwurm Lot, which was converted into a vistors lot at the beginning of the year; she has also been ticketed for parking in the Admissions Lot.
Webster said that she is unhappy with the lots currently designated for students.
“I just think that they have a policy that makes it difficult for students to park close to where they live,” she said. “I walk by Russwurm every day and there were two cars parked there today. There are students living all around there and I don’t understand why they won’t let students use that lot.”
Webster also noted the security officer’s diligence in their ticketing.
“They’re very vigilant,” she said. “I had a ticket on my car by not even 10 a.m.”
The College is also advocating a park-once policy, where students, faculty and staff ideally “park their car, leave it there and walk from there,” Nichols said.
He admitted that tracking down parking violations is not his favorite part of his job as a security officer. However, he does take it very seriously.
“The tickets we write we have to write and we try to be fair about it,” Nichols said. “When people do appeal tickets, as 90 people have done so far this semester, we adjudicate those very fairly and most people are pleased with the results.”
Nichols oversees all of the appeals himself, and said that he comes to a verdict within five business days after the appeal.
He went on to say that, through the appeal process, fines are often reduced or even reclassified as just a warning.
Westervelt said that she wasn’t sure what steps to take after recieving a ticket.
“I really don’t know...the process for appealing a ticket or if it is worth it to appeal a ticket,” she said.
Nichols noted that he actually likes hearing the sometimes ridiculous reasons for violations.
“As the hearings officer, if you make me laugh, you’re more than likely to be rewarded,” Nichols said.
Fines are doubled after two parking infractions.
After three violations, students are notified that their car could be towed if they commit another infraction.
This week, 20 students received warning notices. Bowdoin’s top violator has accumulated eight infractions. Otherwise, cars are only towed if they are parked in an unsafe location.
Nichols stressed that students must register their cars if they want to park anywhere on campus and that they should generally stay away from the lots that are clearly marked for employees or visitors.
“We treat people right, but at the same time we hold them accountable. That’s part of our philosophy of treating people with fairness and respect,” Nichols said.