This story is a part of Find Out Florida, a WUFT News series built from your questions. Kate Murray, an audience member, asked us, “How many parking citations does the University of Florida hand out and what percentage are overturned during the appeal process? For what reasons?”
Anthony Sanchez received 10 parking citations during the 2016-2017 school year.
The Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA) president and UF student said he parked in service drives, a side lot area for student housing, because he needed to pick up equipment for resident events, like popcorn and snow cone machines.
Sanchez said he was supposed to get a service drive parking permit, but was unable to obtain one because he got his car in the middle of the school year.
And so he continued to park in the service drive.
“I wasn’t supposed to park there without a pass, so it’s all my fault in the end,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he tried to appeal all ten of his citations, but a lot of the citations he received were from receiving second tickets. He said each citation was an average cost of about $35.
“A lot of my tickets I got were actually piled on tickets, so they wouldn’t notify me when I got the ticket until I already got my second ticket,” he said. “Some of them were the same thing and they wouldn’t appeal either of them, so that got me kind of mad.”
Sanchez said in his first citations, the appeal result ruled that he would get a full refund. After that, Sanchez said most were reduced by $10 after they were appealed.
According to Danial McIntosh, an IT Intermediate in the UF Transportation & Parking Services, UF hands out about 59,000 parking citations annually.
Scott Fox, the director of the UF Transportation & Parking Services, said many of those tickets are warning tickets that are given out toward the beginning of a school year. The purpose of these warning tickets, he said, was to avoid getting a real one.
“It’s not our pleasure to go out there and find violators and write parking tickets,” Fox said. “It’s really our reluctant duty. The reason we write parking tickets is to maintain order and control.”
Still, in 2015-2016, UF made about $1,680,009 and in 2016-2017, UF made about $1,531,532 in parking revenue, McIntosh said.
McIntosh said the UF Transportation & Parking Services does not calculate how many parking citations are appealed and said he didn’t have data on the reasons for appeal judgments, but gave data on the appeal results of students over the last two fiscal years:
Fox said parking out of one’s assigned area is the most common reason someone might get a parking citation, as well as tickets for students who don’t have a decal or don’t display it or are parking somewhere that might be hazardous or obstructive.
When considering a student appeal, Fox said the appeal is moved to student traffic court where they review the appeal and render the case. Fox said they research someone’s citation history and look at photographs that were taken when the citation was issued. Fox said they are more lenient with first appeals.
Fox said UF is currently in the early stages of designing parking garage 14, which will sit on the side of the large commuter lot on Gale Lemerand Drive. He said it is still too early to know how many spaces will be in it and what it will look like.
When Fox got to UF in 1998, he said there were between 23,000-24,000 parking spaces on campus and almost 20 years later, four garages have been built and the number of parking spaces is still the same.
Fox said the reason for this is because UF has built buildings on top of parking lots.
“We’ve lost parking to new construction,” he said, “which we have replaced in garages to sort of maintain our parking supply.”
The appeal process for non-students involves the University Hearing Authority, made up of volunteer faculty and staff members.
“Whenever someone is kind of upset that they’ve gotten a parking ticket,” Fox said, “I always ask them to imagine what our campus would look like if we didn’t (issue citations).”
Are you curious about something in your community? Let us know, and we’ll report the answer as part of our Find Out Florida series.