Public Safety ticket party

Mark Giacomi

On April 17, I walked to my car ready to drive to an important meeting. As I got closer, I was shocked and chagrined to see a fluorescent orange tag on my door handle (the orange tag signifies your car has been booted). Sure enough, all I had to do was walk to the other side of my car to see that putrid orange contraption locked to my wheel. I was livid. I looked at my parking spot in Klekotka lot. I wasn’t parked illegally. There were no signs saying I couldn’t park there. I had my West campus hangtag up and my parking sticker secured on the back of my rear-view mirror. I looked around the lot. Many other cars were parked “illegally” and although they had not been booted, they had all received $15 fines.

After walking to the Public Safety office, I was surprised to see that there were other angry students who had also been booted during that same time period. It was 7 p.m. and since the parking office was closed, nothing could be done to file an appeal. Ticketing students after the parking office closes? Well, isn’t that convenient? The dispatcher on duty asked me if I needed my car that night. Did this man honestly expect me to leave my booted car in the lot overnight, causing me to accumulate another $15 fine on top of the $115 I had to pay to have the boot removed?

After paying the fine, I walked back to West campus. I was told that the boot would be removed immediately, but after sitting near my car for a half hour and missing my meeting, there was still no sign of the boot-remover. Finally, after 45 minutes, he showed up.

I asked him why my car was booted while other cars had merely been ticketed. He told me that because I had accumulated four tickets this year, I was now worthy of the boot. I explained that I had paid the tickets and they were no longer outstanding. Apparently this was irrelevant and my parking record is forever written in stone.

I then asked him why other students were ticketed for parking in a legal zone. He told me that, according to his understanding, those cars were parked illegally. Naturally, I asked him where the signs signifying an illegal zone were located. As if to mock me, he brought me over to a miniscule hole in the ground. He then proceeded to tell me that this was where a sign used to be located.

“Students kept ripping them out of the ground so Villanova University decided not to keep putting new ones up,” he told me.

When did Villanova suddenly stop cementing signs into place? Hey sophomores, the moral of the story is: watch out for invisible no-parking signs next year. You’ll get a ticket every single time.