Boris Tsang / Sun File Photo

Cornell student drivers discuss the recent parking citation fine increase, which was put into effect on Sept. 1.

September 4, 2023

On-Campus Parking Violation Fines Increase for First Time Since 2014

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All vehicles violating displayed on-campus parking policies are liable to increased parking violation fines as of Friday, Sept. 1, according to a Cornell Facilities and Campus Services press release. The rise in citation fines marks the first increase in parking violation fines since 2014.

The price raise was issued in response to an increase in unauthorized parking, the press release said. Students, faculty and staff who use cars on campus can currently purchase permits or use the daily decision parking options — where drivers can digitally pay for select parking spots on a day-to-day basis. Cornell Transportation Services oversees campus parking violation policies, according to the press release.

“Our goal is to encourage drivers to do the right thing, which is why we want to increase awareness among the Cornell community about the numerous permit and mobile-payment parking options available to them,” said Bridgette Brady, senior director for Transportation and Delivery Services, in the press release.

Permit and payment violations — which represent 85 percent of parking violations — are now $50, with a $10 increase if not paid within 10 days. The fine was previously $35, according to students like Abby Gase ’25, who received a citation before the increase.

Unauthorized parking in an accessible space, fire lane or life safety zone will now cost drivers $150 with automatic towing. The boot program — in which cars are immobilized through wheel locking — also has an increased release fee of $150.

The “boot” is utilized for vehicles with at least three unpaid parking citations, with a cumulative violation amount of at least $200 or with a falsified, altered or invalid parking permit. Vehicles can be immobilized through the program regardless of whether the vehicle is legally or illegally parked at the time of violation.

When asked for additional details about the increase in parking violations, past parking violation prices and the determination of new citation costs, a representative of the University said there is no more information to share beyond the press release at this point.

The representative, however, emphasized that the fine raises were imperative in response to the increase in illegal parking on campus. Unauthorized parking, the representative said, can be dangerous in cases such as when vehicles block emergency lanes.

“The new violation fee structure is part of efforts to update policies regarding topics such as ‘scofflaw’ designation and chronic violations of campus parking rules,” the press release said.

Student Experiences

Gase first brought a car to campus as a first-year student and has continued to bring her car to campus since. Gase is from Ohio, which is about a seven-hour drive from Cornell’s campus, and has a physical disability. She said she and her parents mutually decided that bringing a car to Cornell would make leaving campus to get home or go somewhere else, particularly for medical reasons, more accessible.

Gase said she also brought a wheelchair to campus her first year, so a car would make her wheelchair easily transportable.

Gase said she regularly uses Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit buses, which are free for Cornell students in their first year at the University and come at a University-subsidized price for sequential years. Gase, however, has never used CULift — a shuttle service accessible through Student Disability Services — since rides must be scheduled by 10 a.m. the business day before the ride.

The parking fine increase, Gase said, is unfortunate since finding a parking spot can be challenging.

“I get to campus pretty early every day so I [typically] get a parking spot. But I know some of my friends don’t get a spot,” Gase said. “They just kind of park wherever and hope they don’t get ticketed, and [citation fees’] going up a significant amount [is] tough for anyone that is in that situation.”

Gase has received only one parking ticket on campus, due to parking in an unauthorized spot — the hash marks of a handicap aisle — when she was running late to a lab section. Gase said she thinks the University needs to add more parking on campus but is unsure how that would be attainable with the current campus layout.

Gabrielle Garra ’26, who is from Long Island, decided to bring a car to campus for her sophomore year primarily to simplify the process of traveling between her home and Cornell. She said that while an on-campus permit is expensive, she finds it is worth the cost because she can park close to her dorm on West Campus.

On-campus resident permits cost an annual rate of $752.86 with specific permits zoned to North Campus, South Campus, West Campus or the Hasbrouck Apartments.

Garra was unaware of the parking violation fine increase before her interview with The Sun. When she was told about the increase, she expressed disappointment with the new fine amounts.

“It’d be unfortunate [to get a parking violation with the increased cost] because I already paid for a pass,” Garra said. “So if I got a parking ticket on top of the pass that’s a lot of money racking up, even though I have permission to park on campus.”

While Garra said she has found adequate parking on West Campus, she said she thinks each permit should encompass more campus parking options.

“I think it’s a lot of money for just one or two parking lots,” Garra said.

Current Fine Amounts

All current parking citation amounts are listed below.

Proper Permit/Payment Required$50
No Parking Zone$50
Expired Permit$50
Over Time Limit$35
Fire Lane/Life Safety Zone$150
Accessible Space/Aisle$150
Unauthorized Permit Displayed$150
Winter Parking Rules$50
Violation Posted Regulation$50
Parked Wrong Way$100
Taking Up Two Spaces$50
Operating Requirements Not Met$50
License Plate Not Visible from Drive Aisle$10
Night/Weekend Restrictions$50
Reserved Space$150