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Street parking for commuter students is worrisome

April 1, 2015

Those commuters coming from outside the River Falls area to the university on a daily basis understand the importance and value of a good parking spot.

Knowing where to park legally can save commuters from getting needless parking tickets. Tickets can cost a lot initially but more if left unpaid. With the city, if the basic $25 ticket is not paid within 10 days, the cost goes up to $80.

According to River Falls Community Service Officer for Parking Enforcement Bill Rasmussen, the current residential parking rules have been in place for around 15 years and usually work well. Tickets are given for more than parking in the wrong place and sometimes for more than one offense at a time. Education can help avoid the problem of parking fines.

“Distance from fire hydrants, distance from driveways, distance from crosswalks, visibility of crosswalks, vehicles have to be a certain distance back,” Rasmussen said. “Fire hydrants, vehicles have to be a certain distance back. Distance from an intersection, they have to be a certain distance back. One student will park in violation and then all of a sudden more students see that car parked there. They assume for whatever reason, that it’s okay for everybody to park there.”

Signage is posted on every street with parking instructions or restrictions. The city of River Falls has detailed parking rules and a map of the city with legal parking instructions on its website.

UWRF senior Katelyn Loncar only parks on city streets and received a few tickets before she learned to park carefully. She said she wished they had not remodeled Cascade because she thought the parking situation was easier then. Now she has to arrive for a 9 a.m. class at 6 a.m. to find a closer parking spot.

“I never really used the commuting parking lot because it was just so far away from the main campus,” Loncar said.

UWRF Chief of Police Karl Fleury doesn’t like to give students tickets. He wants students who commute to know the rules on campus and choose the parking location best suited for their needs. Campus parking information can be found online and maps and brochures can be found at the campus police office.

“We would rather have the education and compliance than the tickets,” Fleury said. “Issuing citations, that’s not what our goal or objective is. We want to make sure everyone complies with the rules.”

The campus will have two new commuter passes in the fall: a commuter permit and a 24-hour permit. The commuter permit, at a cost of $129, is not valid overnight. The 24-hour permit, at a cost of $308, will allow the permit holder to park overnight in the lot.

Fleury said he is very excited to offer this new parking program for students. Fleury said the passes will be convenient for those students who live in River Falls, off campus, but lack adequate parking at their apartments or homes.

The new commuter passes can be purchased for the Hunt Arena and Knowles Center parking lot next fall. Construction will be done by the fall semester and there will be more room in the lot.

For further information and a parking map concerning River Falls parking regulations, go to the city’s website at www.rfcity.org. For campus parking rules go to the campus police office in 103 Regional Development Institute where you can get many helpful brochures or go to their site at www.uwrf.edu/Parking/index.cfm.

The Student Voice will be running several commuting stories over the next month in an effort to discover how commuting affects the campus and community.

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