By ANTHONY MOTTLEY and SEAN BAUR, Guest Writers
Those who speed or park illegally in the lots on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus are more likely to get a warning than a citation.
“Police wants to foster an atmosphere of voluntary compliance with ordinances and laws,” said Jason Forsberg, UM-Dearborn’s campus deputy chief of police.
“Writing tickets is a last resort for us, but also a necessary part of the university’s parking plan,” he said. “Parking citations are one of the last ways we ensure that the right people park in the right areas. We prefer to educate and warn prior to enforcement.”
So far this year, the campus police have written fewer citations—42 to last year’s 58, over the same January to March 3-month period.
Speeding is another area where the campus police have issued warnings instead of citations. In fact, according to Deputy Forsberg, there has not been a speeding ticket issued in the past two years.
The number of overall parking spaces available to the university has been reduced by 236 since the lot at The Henry Ford Estates is no longer managed by UM-Dearborn.
However, the overall number of spaces on the campus lots has remained static. Every student that is registered should have a parking pass, but in our survey of the lots there were many vehicles parking without a valid pass. There is no way to tell whether these vehicles belong to students or visitors.
Getting a convenient parking space is often a matter of timing. The busiest days on campus are Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. According to campus spokesperson Carol Glick, arriving early may be the most important variable to secure a parking space.
“The North lots have most available spaces. The parking structure is a great place to park as well. They have never run out of spaces in the structure or in outside lots. Ever,” she said.
Overall, Deputy Chief Forsberg thinks the voluntary enforcement policy is working.
“We feel that our role on campus is to promote and provide a safe and secure community for all. Traffic and parking enforcement are a small but important part of what we do on campus to ensure voluntary compliance with ordinances and laws.”