For many students, the most stressful part of the new term occurs long before they attend their first class, or even join the long line at the book store. The first test of patience is usually finding a parking space.
“Parking is really busy in the fall quarter because more students register,” said Maggie Whetsel, the director of Public Safety.
With approximately 3,200 parking spaces allocated to students out of about 4,000, there is certainly no shortage of room on campus. However, during peak hours and in the first week of the semester, these spaces fill up fast.
Parking at BC is divided into numbered lots on the perimeter of campus. There are signs on the entrance to the lots that describe the lot’s number, the rules of the lot, and who may use it. Lots are designated as student, employee, or visitor parking. While cars in the “visitor” lots don’t need parking permits, students are not allowed to park in them. Instead, all students are advised to obtain a parking permit before the beginning of the quarter to avoid getting a ticket.
Parking permits are free, and can be obtained at the Cashiers Office in the Student Services building, the Business Center, or at the Campus Security office in K100 behind the gym. Though the line for parking permits are unusually long at the beginning of the fall semester, acquiring the permit is a simple procedure as long as students know their vehicle license number, make, model, and year, as well as their student ID number.
Whetsel offers an insider tip for getting your permit. “The best place [for students to get their parking permits] is K100, because the lines will be shorter.”
Returning students must take a minute to look at the permit on their windshield, because they may not have the correct permit.
“Green parking permits are no good, and [students that have them] should get new ones,” said Whetsel. She added, “Everyone with a red one will be counted good for two years.”
The red permits are still good, but Public Safety has placed an order for new ones. Last year’s red permits had holes punched in them to indicate the month and year they were validated, but these tiny holes proved to be difficult for public safety offers to read at a glance. Instead, the new permits will clearly display the year in which they expire.
“We’ll start giving out the ones that expire in 2012 and we’ll give them out as soon as they come in,” said Whetsel.
While some students may be tempted to park in an employee or visitor lot on the first day, they should not expect leniency from the campus security officers. Bellevue College officers constantly patrol the campus, looking for parking violations and safety hazards.
BC security officers can issue citations for violations of both city and campus parking laws.
Students can contest a parking ticket by filling out a form online and sending it to the Campus Security office within twenty days of the ticket being issued.
If a ticket goes unpaid after twenty days, the student may not be allowed to register, their transcripts or financial aid may be withheld, or the vehicle may be impounded.
Parking in the wrong lot is not the only vehicular offense students should avoid committing.
Blocking traffic, ignoring traffic signs, or parking in inappropriate places such as loading zones, sidewalks, or bus lanes are all hazards punishable by fine.
As long as students get their permits and pay attention to the posted signs, they shouldn’t have a problem.