End of Semester Parking Games

Wednesday, 17 April 2013
As a PhD student, I've learned the ropes around the University of Tennessee Knoxville program in more ways than one. I always forget about the end of semester parking games, however.

More students go to their classes at the end of the semester than at the beginning or middle. This means that in the last three weeks of class there is an influx of undergraduates crusing around the commuter lots (where PhD students park) looking for a space. I blame UTK for some of this mess because they oversell the permits. That means not all drivers with commuter permits have a space to park on campus during busy hours.

Just this week I had a meeting at 10:00 a.m. but was already on campus for an 8:30 class. I decided to move my car after class to the back commuter lot which is closer to my office. Bad idea. I followed some poor kid to his car (yes, I car stalk for parking spaces) and when he got there, he jumped in and pulled out. Before I could pull in (I was clearly waiting for the spot), a female student in a green Jeep Cherokee with hipster stickers on the back zoomed into the spot.

Remembering my position as graduate teaching associate, research assistant and PhD student at this fine university, I took a deep breath, shook my head and calmly pulled away. I drove around the lot two more times while 10 other cars drove the same loops anxiously. There were just no spots.

Sooo, almost late to the meeting, I drove to the front of the building and stopped to get a 45 minute permit to park in Circle Park for free. I put the permit in my window, parked and went to my meeting (which was very productive by the way). When I came out smiling in the spring air, I noticed a parking ticket on my windshield. I was legally parked and still within my time limit. What was the problem? Grabbing the citation, I read the comments, "Permit not visible. Picture taken." The penalty for this offense is $24.

I wouldn't be so uptight about it if the permit actually was not visible or if there were enough parking spaces available for commuters during busy times. Now I get to go through the tedious and frustrating process of appealing the citation. Just two more weeks of classes to go this semester. I'll be arriving extra early everyday or perhaps I could employ a "creative parking" strategy like this person in Italy...


1 comment

Dan said...

That's why you should call them what they really are.... hunting licenses. I had the same issue many years ago at my local community college. The only reason I took 8am classes was so I could get a parking space. Sorry about the ticket. I hope you win your appeal...