PTS ‘Gimme a Break’ means warnings, not tickets

Parking(1.21)
TIME’S UP: Student vehicles sit by expired parking meters on the Downtown campus. ASU Parking and Transit Services will hand out warnings instead of fines for some students who illegally park during the first few weeks of the semester. (Photo by Molly Smith)
Published On:
Thursday, January 21, 2010
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Parking and Transit Services will issue friendly warning notices instead of tickets to some parking violators as part of its “Gimme a Break” program, many of which will be issued at the beginning of the semester.

The cards are most often given out to first-time violators, parents and other visitors, said PTS assistant director Melinda Helton.

“We issue the cards to vehicles that we have no record of in our system, or to someone who’s never gotten a violation,” she said.

“Gimme a Break” is implemented year-round, but many of the notices are distributed early in the semester.

Helton proposed the “Gimme a Break” program in Fall 2007 after seeing other entities had similar programs.

PTS director Theresa Fletcher explained that the cards are given for the first violation of any kind.

“If, for example, someone with a parking decal parked in the wrong lot, they might receive a card,” Fletcher said, adding that the individual may also receive a card if they commit a different violation for the first time.

Parking accounts are reset every academic year, so cards are given out for the first violation of each year, she said.

They are issued alongside a ticket that has a $0 fee, known as a zero-violation ticket. They also contain a description about why the notice was issued, Fletcher said.

“Gimme a Break” was created to educate visitors about the parking scheme at ASU without issuing citations, Helton said.

Parking enforcement officials were seen Wednesday carrying stacks of the cards and issuing them alongside zero-violation tickets.

“We know you don’t want to break the bank paying parking fees!” the cards read.

Fletcher said parking enforcement officials have some individual discretion in handing out the cards.

Serious parking violations, such as parking in an emergency or disability parking space, will always result in a fine.

Fletcher said she once had a meeting with an ASU official who discovered that she had forgotten to display her parking pass upon returning to her car.

“She came back and saw that she was issued one of the cards, and she was very relieved,” Fletcher said.

Anyone is eligible to receive a break, and PTS understands that commuters can have a difficult time trying to wrangle parking, she said.

“We’re trying to extend an empathetic hand,” Fletcher said.

“Gimme a Break” is intended to help people commuting to and from ASU, Helton said.

“We’re enforcing vehicles, not people,” she said.

PTS senior program coordinator Cheryl Lohman said the program has been well-received.

“Customers are very appreciative for the break,” she said.

Reach the reporter at chase.kamp@asu.edu