Joseph Villers, staff writer
The Accounting Office confirms that 262 vehicles have been registered this semester. There are more student vehicles on campus than this count, but the true number is difficult to quantify. Some students have avoided getting a decal. At the accounting window, Carly Damien commented, “Every student on campus [with a car] has to have a sticker. Parking passes are fifty dollars for the year – day students get them free – and one ticket is fifty dollars. If you don’t pay in ten days, you get a five-dollar charge to your account. It is not voluntary.”
Regarding parking down by the river, public safety officer, former volunteer firefighter and WWC alum of 59′ Danny Starnes, “They’re not supposed to. Some of them attempt to without a sticker and they eventually get caught. We do traces on the cars down there. If it is a student, we give a citation and put a note on there to get a sticker. Sometimes, if they do it twice, we’ll put their hand out – and we’ll slap it.” Starnes is known for his sense of humor. “We ticket them if they’re a student, to break the habit, but I don’t personally like to do it. I do it for fire lanes and handicap spaces, because I’ve been a volunteer firefighter,” Starnes said, regarding ticketing on-campus.
Starnes reported that Sage Circle currently has a big problem: fire crews responding to calls can’t make it around the circle when cars park along it. Unloading a car is fine, but parking here, or on any road on campus, is now considered parking in a fire lane.
“I advised the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the recommendation by the fire martial, and we have signs which will be up shortly,” Director of Public Safety Terry Payne said.
The new legislation is in the student handbook, on page 50, where it states, “By State law and County code, all roadways on Warren Wilson College campus are considered fire lanes. Please park only in designated parking areas. Citations will be issued for fire lane violations.”
Parking space for visitors is reported to be in short supply. Paine said of the problem, “Due to increase in faculty and staff, there are now parking issues.”
At the motor pool, sophomore Farid Quraishi and supervisor John Verba commented on their own parking difficulties with FMTS vehicles. Said Verba, “The problem from our perspective is that we have to park at Kittredge. Gladfelter is usually taken up by Marriot staff. We have gotten some citations for parking there. Athletics is a big user of our vehicles – 14s and 25s [passenger vans]- we’ve gotten citations for parking in front of Devries. Even in the Dust Bowl [parking lot next to Devries]. We don’t park in no-parking spaces, but still get citations.” Quraishi added, “We could use some leverage.”
Part of the strain has to do with a deliberate sacrifice on the part of the student body. Between 2002 and 2003, there was the option to build another parking lot. By a vote it was decided instead to encourage fewer vehicles on campus. On Warren Wilson’s website, in the New Student Guide. it reads of the squashed lot, “A number of years ago our community made a decision to limit pavement on our beautiful campus and implemented a policy that prohibited first year students from parking cars on campus. Many other WWC students also choose not to have a vehicle.”
Payne confirmed that citations for FMTS vehicles are handled by Paul Braese, Director of Facilities Management. Director Braese could not immediately be reached by email.