Marquette Wire

Illegal parking in handicap spaces causes issues for those in need

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Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

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Deb Weaver, administrative assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences, thinks that Marquette Parking Services has missed the mark when accommodating her need for handicap parking and ticketing individuals who park there illegally.

In the 38 years Weaver has worked at Marquette, handicap parking outside Schroeder Complex evolved to include 2 spaces outside the building and six across the street from the Helfaer Rec Center in a parking lot called “The Pit.” Weaver said those spaces are continually filled by people who illegally park there and she has been forced to alter her daily schedule to ensure a spot.

“I routinely come in one hour before my start time to secure a spot across from my building, and about half the time I’m still unable to get on of those spots,” Weaver said in an email.

Weaver is not the only person on campus affected by the lack of handicap parking on campus.

“I have several friends and relatives that are wheelchair-bound and when they can’t find a spot, they don’t go somewhere,” said Audra Kramer, a second-year graduate student in biological sciences.

Mike Jahner, Associate Director at Facilities Planning and Management, said in an email that the citation for parking in handicapped accessible spots on campus without a proper permit is $50.

Under code 759 of the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, unauthorized parking in a city-owned handicapped zone carries a first-time fee of $200, the largest amount for any Milwaukee parking violation.

The reason Marquette parking citations are less than a City of Milwaukee citation is because it is a private institution and Jahner said Marquette, “has the discretion to enforce parking with university citations and these differ from municipal citations.”

“There are routinely not enough handicap-accessible spots available for people that need them and that’s not OK,” Kramer said. “It’s not OK in the (Schroeder Complex) that houses physical therapy and speech pathology and biomedical sciences.”

Marquette Parking Services said handicap accessibility on campus is important.

“Marquette University takes enforcing parking regulations, particularly when illegally parked cars impact accessibility and the safety and welfare of our campus community seriously,” Jahner said. “Put simply, parking in a space designated for those with disabilities without a permit is illegal and MUPD and Parking Services will ticket any vehicle found in violation of this ordinance.”

Kramer and Weaver said more needs to be done to decrease illegal parking and they are not confident Parking Services will handle the problem.

“I don’t think that a complaint from a student is going to elicit any change,” Kramer said. “I don’t think they care.”

Weaver has continually spoken to Parking Services and said its their response has not emphasized change.

“Last year the person (from Parking Services) I talked with said ‘well there’s plenty of handicapped parking in the structure,’” Weaver said. “My response was that if I could walk from the structure to my building, I would certainly do so,” Weaver said.

Three people Kramer said illegally parked in The Pit, received a $10 ticket. They did not respond to interview requests.

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