Parking Services director says students’ parking issues caused by ‘misunderstanding’ rules

The Kansas State parking garage is open 24/7 for students, faculty, staff and the public. Jeff Barnes, director of the K-State Parking Services, said he thinks the main issue with on-campus parking is a lack of communication. (Archive Photo by Renee Dick | Collegian Media Group)

Although many students walk or ride a bicycle to campus, driving a car is a primary form of transportation for some Kansas State students, which can cause frustration when students cannot find a place to park without being charged a fee.

Jeff Barnes, director of parking and transport for the K-State Parking Services, said his department has been working to improve the parking situation on campus, but conflicts between the Parking Services and students still occur due to “misunderstanding.”

“It’s a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of the rules,” Barnes said. “With the public, it’s not knowing they need a permit, or when they need a permit, or that the garage is a 24/7 operation. With students, it’s usually just not knowing the rules or understanding them. Sometimes they fail to fully read the rules, so they think they can park anywhere after 5 p.m., but the housing lots are [ticketed] 24/7 during the school year.

As previously reported by the Collegian, Parking Services has a poor reputation among many students due to low availability of parking spots and high prices for parking tickets, with $50 and $100 tickets not unheard of. Barnes said this tension is due to unrealistic expectations from students.

I think the biggest complaint we get is that people can’t find a place to park — realistically, it’s not finding a place to park where they want it,” Barnes said. “There are spots available all the time north of Weber Hall in B17 and B18, it’s just further away. We don’t seem to have as many problems with faculty and staff, but it happens.”

Barnes said Parking Services is trying to make the rules for parking on campus more clear to students, but ignorance does not excuse a violation of the rules.

“We try to work with everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can make citations go away,” Barnes said. “We do our best to explain the rules so [students] understand going forward.

Barnes said Parking Services issues “about 20,000 citations per year,” and the money Parking Services receives from tickets, citations and parking passes goes into payroll, utilities and maintenance work.

“The money all goes back into the parking operation,” Barnes said. “Parking [Services] receives no student fees, taxes or tuition money.”

K-State has parking spaces throughout campus, but Barnes said Parking Services does not oversee all of them.

“About 11,200 of them are what Parking Services are responsible for,” Barnes said. “I’m not including the stalls at Bramlage [Coliseum].”

Barnes reiterated that his department tries to work with students, faculty and the public the best they can, and questions about the reasoning behind parking citations should be directed to them.

“If you get a citation and you don’t understand, come see us before you get any more [citations] so we can explain what’s going on and what you need to do to correct it,” Barnes said.