Students call for Pace to reconsider their parking policy

Ibrahim Aksoy

Surrounded by New York State Route 117, the Taconic State Parkway and high hills, Pace University Pleasantville campus has limited space for campus parking. Adding restrictions and a high vehicle volume on campus, it may be challenging to find an empty spot and avoid citations.

The office of safety and security disagrees.

“I do not believe that Pace University has a parking problem in either the Pleasantville or the Law School campus,” executive director of Safety and Security, Vincent Beatty, said.

Cars with resident decals are not allowed to park on the academic side of the campus once the Pleasantville Master Plan construction project was completed in 2016, Beatty added. Freshman resident students are not allowed to bring their cars to campus to reduce vehicular traffic. 

However, some freshmen students do bring their cars to campus and most often end up with citations.

“I find that a lot of freshmen get tickets because they bring cars to campus without being approved or they can’t find parking so they have to park in areas they are told not to,” freshman nursing major Dayna Gorbutt said.

Reserved spaces for faculty and staff reduce chances to find an empty space. Outside each dorm building, there are also spots that are restricted to resident life employees. 

I don’t think it makes sense for teachers and security to have certain spots when they don’t live here,” said senior mathematics major Bianca Stewart.

Parking lots in Choate House, Goldstein Fitness Center and Kessel Student Center are the most common places for citations, Beatty added. 

According to the security office, Pace issued 216 A decals for faculty and staff in the 2019-2020 academic year so far. The number is 740 for residential R decals and 895 for commuter R decals.

Many students are happy that Pace does not charge students for parking on campus, considering high tuition rates and other expenses, such as campus housing and dining. Even if the office were to charge, students would not want to pay more than $150 for parking.

Commuter decals are only allowed to park in academic lots, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, P, U and X, where residential decals are prohibited from parking from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Residential vehicles are also not allowed to enter the Mortola Library parking lot.

“You live in one building and yet park far away from where you live,” Stewart said. “The weather could be bad and you just have to go all the way just because teachers and securities have parking spots.” 

Mortola Library is a frequent stop for students where residents are not allowed to park.

Each week, Pace security officials issue 75-100 citations, according to the office of safety. The Goldstein Fitness Center, Choate House, and Kessel Student Center are the popular lots where most citations are issued, Beatty added.

Security officials do not target a specific decal when writing citations. Parking regulations are strictly enforced as soon as a vehicle is spotted as being parked illegally.

“Every time someone tries to park even if it is for a small period of time they end up getting a citation by security for some reason,” sophomore biological psychology major Faith Williams said.

Williams expresses her feelings about having to pay for citations in addition to other expenses.

“It is kind of unfair for us to have to pay for those things on top of like having the $64,000 tuition,” she said. 

Parking fines could go up to $100, raising the already expensive cost of tuition even more. Pace is the 28th most expensive university in New York State by tuition, according to U.S. News. With housing, books and traffic fines, these rankings might shift.