Attending college in New York City means limited parking space. Anyone who drives around Manhattan College’s campus is familiar with parking tickets, but many do not know that appeals can be filed online.
Angelica Martinez, operations manager for Public Safety, and Alireza Razavi, graduate assistant for Public Safety, worked on creating an easy to follow online form to submit an appeal for a citation received on campus as an alternative to submitting a form in person.
“The problem with the previous form was that people could only submit it when we were open, so 9:00am-4:30pm. If you are an evening student or an online student and you are here for administrative purposes where you are not here often, it is not really convenient for you to come in and submit an appeal,” said Martinez.
Creating this form not only allows more flexibility for students but also eases the jobs for the staff in Public Safety while leaving less room for error. Every paper citation is reviewed by the Assistant Director of Public Safety before being submitted for a secondary review process.
“There was all of this paper that would have to be processed three or four times as opposed to online where we have one spreadsheet with everyone’s information. Now only one sheet gets passed around and a lot of the things we used to have to do manually now gets done through an automated process. It’s better for us because we can track where everyone is in the process,” said Martinez.
Students who have received a parking ticket in the past, such as junior John Stefanou, agree that having this online system addresses the needs of all students who cannot make it to campus during traditional class hours.
“I got a ticket for parking in a spot that prevented one of the trucks from loading. If I had a choice between going in person doing it online, I would rather appeal a ticket online. It’s easier for me,” said Stefanou.
Parking tickets are given out by Public Safety officers. There are three Public Safety shifts that rotate on campus. Each shift includes a few officers who are assigned to patrol parking. These officers walk the lots and make sure people are parking correctly, violators are given a citation.
If one receives a citation, the student can visit the Manhattan College website under parking and click the “resolve a parking citation” link. This is the first step in appealing. The form takes about five to ten minutes to complete.
“We also have a secondary form that highlights the citation and where you can find everything because people want to know what’s the citation number and where to find it so if you have the citation with you and you are looking at that paper it will actually show you where everything is so it makes it a lot easier to complete this form,” said Martinez. “This usually takes about five minutes, ten if you are trying to think of a reason to appeal but that might be the longest thing on here.”
One of the most common reasons students and faculty receive parking tickets is due to a lack of valid permit in an unauthorized parking area. Public Safety reviewed their data from the fiscal year, June to July, and as of July 1st, 92 percent of the citations issued (2096 citations) were given because of this issue.
The highest ticketed area on campus is continually Draddy Gymnasium with 405 citations since July. The second most ticketed area is the MC parking garage and outside of Leo Hall (250 each).
Junior Gina DiMauro received one of these tickets in the spring of 2017.
“Appealing my parking ticket was a hassle,” DiMauro said. “ I got the parking ticket because I had an expired permit. I was in a car accident and was unable to drive the car that was under the correct permit sticker to park as a commuter.”
Dimauro continued to explain her unfortunate situation.
“I had a temporary permit for a different car and it expired so I recieved a ticket. I guess they gave me a harder time with the ticket because I had an expired permit but at the same time I had already paid in full for my parking permit for the whole year.”
DiMauro’s biggest issue was the timing of a mandatory appointment.
“The only issue I had and was upset about was when I had to talk to student engagement. It had to be at 9:30 [p.m.]. [I’m a commuter] so having to stay longer at school [was troublesome] because I had to stay at school much longer than planned. I wish I could have appealed mine online, but I couldn’t do that at the time. I think that is really useful and a step in the right direction to understand where commuters are coming from,” said DiMauro.
Having a faster way to appeal tickets is important because students can now avoid late fees which occur 20 days after receiving the ticket. Holds are also placed on students’ accounts for late payments. Students also have the opportunity to a secondary appeal through student court if their original appeal was denied.