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Parking boot

Parking Boots

You will likely see more parking boots this year on campus as University Police Department will start using this system instead of towing cars away

By Alexander Plate

At SUNY Oswego, the University Police department has adjusted its parking enforcement policies by introducing a boot to their toolbox, after a series of complaints about towing fees from the student body.

“Some students raised concerns that the tow service we were using were charging an excessive amount of money for them to get their cars back,” said Lieutenant Matthew Barbeau. “The president’s office asked us to look into different alternatives to use to towing, that would still maintain the integrity of our parking rules.”

The most common scenario that would result in a car being towed on campus was at the beginning of the semester, when students would park their cars in spaces reserved for residence hall staff members during move-in or in the first weekend they were on campus.

UP would tow those vehicles, using a local towing company, and students whose cars were towed would have to come up with at least $85 to cover towing fees for a small vehicle, but often would have to pay much more than that, including upcharges for difficult weather, large vehicles and storage fees.

UP and the SUNY Oswego administration hope that this change will keep down costs for students and make any interactions between them and parking enforcement go more smoothly. Now, in most cases, students parked in reserved spaces or with 10 or more unpaid violations with UP will have a parking boot attached to their cars and a sticker placed on their driver’s window warning them of the disabling device.

Barbeau said that the only cost associated with getting the boot removed is the payment of any fines the disabled vehicle’s driver may have accrued. For those parked in reserved spots, that can be as low as $20, provided they have only that parking ticket to pay.

The expectation is that students will want to move their vehicles soon after having the boot installed, and will pay the fines as quickly as possible, learn their lesson and serve as an example to any passersby who see the boot. However, the tool has yet to be used by UP, as it was purchased in October of 2019.

“We haven’t had to use the boot yet so far,” Barbeau said. “A lot of times, we’re towing in the beginning of the year when people are moving in, which is the use-case for the boot as well.”

Barbeau said that while UP plans on using the parking boot as their first option when a car is parked illegally, they reserve the right to tow any vehicles parked illegally on SUNY Oswego property.

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