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Lack of campus parking leads to tickets for commuters

April 8, 2015

Commuting students, faculty and staff all have an impact on parking around the UW-River Falls campus as well as the plans and decisions involved with parking.

UWRF Chief of Police Karl Fleury said his staff tries to make accommodations for those who commute to campus in regards to parking and traffic. UWRF is known for having a large amount of commuter students, as many students live off campus and travel to school every day.

According to the UW System student statistics, there were 6,184 total students at UWRF in the fall of 2014, and 2,863 of those students were reciprocity-eligible students. Reciprocity-eligible students from Minnesota are more likely to commute from their homes in or around the Twin Cities, but there are also Wisconsin residents who commute from the surrounding communities of Hudson, Roberts, Ellsworth, Spring Valley, Baldwin, Martell and Hammond.

When making decisions on parking and changes to parking on campus, Fleury said he tries to take things from a case-by-case basis. He looks at the layout of the UWRF campus; he takes into account how the decision will impact the campus and how it flows with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in River Falls and how it impacts parking overall.

“I look at the overall picture and the flow of traffic,” Fleury said.

Expanding and renovating parking on and around campus is difficult to do. Fleury said due to the limited area available on campus and how expensive it is, that making changes is hard to do. He mentioned that there have been discussions regarding a parking ramp and other changes in the past but nothing serious.

With over 400 students living off campus, many of whom commute to school daily, parking on and around campus needs to be able to accommodate all of these commuters. Commuter students have their own parking lot located near the Knowles Center, where they can purchase a pass to be able to park there. Construction has limited the amount of space there recently but should be completed by the fall semester. Commuters also park in the pay lots around campus and public parking.

Students are not the only ones commuting to campus, as many faculty and staff travel from places as far as the Twin Cities or even further. Parking on campus also needs to be able to accommodate them as well. Employees have their own parking lots and spaces located around campus.

With so many different ways and places to park, knowing the rules and regulations for campus parking is important. Fleury said he would like to see students educate themselves more on the rules and regulations for parking around campus. Compliance with the rules is important as Fleury would prefer to not give students citations for parking. If someone does not follow or know the rules and parks in a fire lane, it can block firetrucks and become a risk to everyone, according to Fleury.

The city of River Falls has its own rules and regulations to follow that differ from the UWRF rules and regulations. Both students who live on and off campus need to be aware and comply with the rules. For more information on parking at UWRF, visit the police office in South Hall, or go to its website at www.uwrf.edu/parking.

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.

Comments

Michael Brun on 09 Apr 2015: If time isn't an issue, parking out as far as Pine or Cedar streets was a good way for me to get some exercise -- possibly counteracting some of those negative side effects of commuting. Great series idea!