Snow Ordinances scare students

Snow Ordinances scare students

by Jasmynne Sloan

Emanuel Coman usually parks his car on a street somewhere nearHamilton apartments.

One afternoon when the snow ordinance was in effect, Coman’s carwasn’t where he left it.

Coman, a senior, became one of many Simpson students affected byIndianola’s snow ordinances when his car was towed by the Indianolapolice.

“We [Simpson Security] do everything we can to avoid ticketingand towing of students’ cars, but it can be hard to get theinformation out when people are in classes or it’s late at night,”said Chris Frerichs, director of security.

Snow ordinances are issued by the city of Indianola when twoinches of snow have fallen or is predicted by the National WeatherService.

Once the ordinance is in effect, any vehicles remaining on thestreet can be ticketed and possibly towed by the Indianola PoliceDepartment.

Frerichs said the police department towed “an incredible numberof cars” during the first snow ordinance of the school year.

One of these cars was Coman’s, who said he searched for it forat least half an hour before going to Brenton Student Center tospeak with security.

“I had to find my car because I was flying to Romania thatafternoon for Christmas break,” said Coman. “Security helped me alot. They did their best to get my car, but I had to leave for myflight.”

Coman authorized Frerichs to pick up his car, and Frerichsparked it in a Simpson-owned lot during the time Coman wasaway.

If Coman’s car had remained impounded, it would have cost himbetween $300 and $400.

Instead, his $60 ticket and towing fee were charged to hisaccount at Simpson.

Frerichs said Coman’s case was unusual, but that security’sattempts to help him were not.

“People can get a bad image of us when we’re out writing parkingtickets, but we really do try to help out whenever we can,especially during snow ordinances,” Frerichs said.

One way Frerichs tries to help is by contacting students insteadof the police department during snow ordinances.

“When they have the time, the Indianola police will call usabout a vehicle on the street if they think it’s a student’s beforethey do anything with it,” said Frerichs. “Then I try to reach thestudent so they have a chance to get their vehicle moved.”

Frerichs said that during the last snow ordinance there were nocalls from the police department and he wasn’t aware of anyticketing or towing.

“That means this one went a lot smoother than the first one,” hesaid. “The students did an excellent job of recognizing that thesnow ordinance was in effect and moving their vehicles.”

Frerichs knows it can be difficult during snow ordinances forstudents without decals to find parking places. He suggests thatthey park in the pool lot if it is before 4:30 p.m. Students arenot allowed to park in the McNeil or Wallace lots.

“Officially, you have to have a parking sticker for every lotowned and controlled by Simpson,” said Frerichs. “But the pool lotwill never be full, and we’ll take that into consideration whengiving tickets.”

Coman knows from experience that the police will tow cars away,but he doesn’t want to buy a parking decal.

“It’s useless to have one,” he said. “You never find a place inthe Hamilton apartment parking lot.

Coman said the parking problem at Hamilton House is part of abigger issue at Simpson.

“There is a real problem with parking here because the number ofstudents is going up every year, and the parking isn’t,” saidComan.

So far this year, security has sold about 960 parking decals toresident and commuter students. Frerichs said about 50 of the 960decals have been sold this semester.

“I know some of these new stickers are being sold because peoplewant to have a place to park their cars during snow ordinances,”said Frerichs.

Despite the extra people parking in Simpson’s lots, Frerichssaid there were enough spaces to go around. There are 905 spacesfor resident students and an additional 155 for commuters. Frerichssaid that students whose cars are parked on the street should stayaware of the weather.

“The weather can surprise us,” he said. “I do not want studentsto get tickets or to be towed, but sometimes all I can do is sendout the information.