Parking citations, granted appeals decline

Designed by Emily Okrepkie and Klaudia Jazwinska/ Made with Canva

Designed by Emily Okrepkie and Klaudia Jazwinska/Made with Canva

As of Oct. 14, Parking Services has received 357 appeals this semester, 178 of which have been granted.

The number of citations issued by Parking Services has been declining over the past three semesters, but so has the percentage of appeals being granted.

“Each semester we work to give fewer citations through education and sign improvements,” wrote Sharon Field, the manager of Lehigh’s Parking Services, in an email. “The number of tickets issued in the spring semester of 2015 is lower than the two semesters before it.”

In the 2015 spring semester, Parking Services issued 4,011 citations. In the fall of 2014, 4,346 citations were issued, and in the spring of 2014, 4,545 were issued.

An appeals committee meets weekly to review the appeals, which are read in the order that they are submitted. The appeals are normally reviewed within one to two weeks after the submission date. However, breaks and holidays may cause delays, due to the fact that the committee only meets when classes are in session.

Last semester, 755 appeals were submitted and 415, or 55 percent, were granted. This percentage has decreased since the fall of 2014, when 63 percent of the 828 appeals submitted were granted. In the spring of 2014, 67 percent of the 899 appeals submitted were granted.

“The number of people on the appeals committee varies from week to week, but it typically consists of six to 12 individuals,” said Sasha Clark, ’18, a first semester member on the appeals committee. “The appeals are read, and if we believe that the person’s appeal is on justifiable grounds, then we waive it.

“It is a typical voting system where majority rules. It’s all anonymous. The only people who know who the ticket is intended for are the manager and the assistant manager of Parking Services.”

The Parking Appeals Committee consists of one faculty member, one non-exempt staff member, one graduate student and four undergraduate students. According to Clark, there are several upperclassmen on the board but no first year students.

“Our members reach out to us and volunteer,” wrote Field. “We try to keep this ratio of faculty to students to staff. No parking or transportation staff are permitted to serve to maintain an unbiased committee.”

The most common appeals that are submitted to the committee are ones for citations for parking at expired meters, in restricted parking zones and in reserved medical spaces. Often times, if the citation is not appealed, the fine will be reduced. Once the appeals committee makes a decision, it is final.

Most fines fall within the range of $25, and these penalties include failing to display a parking permit and illegal and careless parking. However, some are much more expensive. Fines for illegal parking in a handicapped space and unauthorized entry into a garage are $100, and the fine for an unauthorized display of a parking permit is $150.

“We grant around 30 appeals per week,” said Clark, who was invited to be on the board last semester. “It’s a case-by-case basis. We look at a person’s record and what their appeal is. It is very individualized.”

According to Field, it is very simple for a student to appeal a ticket. The ticket and details of the ticket, such as location, violation, fine, license plate, date and time, are found when the student logs on to his or her account. Once the committee makes the decision, Parking Services enters it and an email with the appeal result is generated and sent to the student. Students can appeal tickets online at

“Although people may not be happy with the way the system is set up, it is a very fair system at the end of the day,” Clark said. “People are given access to tools, and are shown how the parking system works. It’s up to the driver to know what to do. You should be aware of where you’re parking and what you’re doing.”

Both Clark and Field stressed the fairness of the system, as well as the crucial role of the Parking Appeals Committee.

“We’re not a scary, secret society of people,” Clark said.

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