Debate Over Sage Point Parking Problems Continues

University of Utah pre-law student Nicole Roybal voiced her concerns Monday in regards to parking problems in the residential areas as well as on lower campus.

On Tuesday, she took her complaints straight to Parking and Transportation Services.

A meeting was originally scheduled with Alma Allred, director of Parking Services. However, Allred was not available, so Roybal met with Patti Ibholm, manager of Patrol and Facilities.

“It’s the most poorly managed parking office that you could imagine,” Roybal said, echoing the sentiment of Steve Rinehart, the U law student who filed lawsuit against Parking and Transportation Services in September.

Among Roybal’s concerns was the lack of parking spaces in the residential areas, especially near the Sage Point apartments?where she lives?due to lot closures since Oct. 15.

Due to the lack of parking, many students began creating their own parking spots, she said. Tickets were issued in response to the illegal parking. According to Ibholm, signs for lot closures went up as early as August.

She said parking lots are designated for Sage Point residents. There are also lots in which all parking zones are permitted. However, the lots are not as close as some might want or expect, she said

“Close-in parking is not there,” Ibholm said.

While Ibholm agreed there was a lack of close parking due to the limited amount of space, she didn’t feel it was sufficient to justify illegal parking.

“People can’t just park illegally because there’s not a stall 100 feet away from a building,” Ibholm said. Furthermore, the Office of Residential Living makes its own rules, and “We patrol in accordance,” she said.

Roybal’s argument was the lack of communication between officials and residents.

“They did not inform us about the lot,” she said. “Not one flier, not one map, not a single thing.”

According to Roybal, there is no information on the Sage Point lot closures on the U’s Web page either. Ibholm believes that the ORL has notified residents, but was not sure.

“If that, in fact, is true, they need to update,” Ibholm said.

Director of Residential Living Dan Adams said residents had received notices, especially those living in Sage Point.

“The day we opened the residential hall, signs were posted at the entrances of all parking lots in regards to lot closures” as well as signs designating which lots could be used, he said.

“Those signs are obviously not there now, but that is because the lots are closed,” Adams said.

According to Adams, Heritage Commons has a 4 square-foot board with current updates of residential issues.

“Our whole thing is based on communication,” he said. Residential living sent notices to each resident, but if a student did not get the information, “We’d like to apologize,” Adams said.

According to Ibholm, Parking Services and the Associated Students of the University of Utah have produced fliers and attempted to get them to every entity on campus.

Both Roybal and Ibholm agreed if there is a lack of communication, it is creating the problem. On that basis, Ibholm agreed to nullify a ticket Roybal received for parking illegally, dependent upon her using the designated parking lots in the future.

“We understand the students needs,” Ibholm said. On Nov. 25, some roadways will be opened to make stalls more available, she said.

Furthermore, “Construction is not our fault,” she said, which is one main reason for lot closures in preparation for the Winter Games.

“We’re doing everything we can,” she said.

According to Roybal, not enough is being done.

“It seems as if they are in denial,” she said. “Maybe student actions such as the lawsuit will make them realize how big of a problem this is.”

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