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The Daily Wildcat

 

Go too fast, get caught: PTS enforcing speed limits in UA garages

Vehicles+parked+inside+the+Tyndall+garage+on+Friday%2C+April+29.
Sydney Richardson
Vehicles parked inside the Tyndall garage on Friday, April 29.

Following the rules of the road can often challenge student drivers, especially when they are in a rush to class. UA Parking and Transportation Services has recently stepped up monitoring speeders with radar enforcement in parking garages to combat speedy motorists.

“We’ve gotten two new officers, who are focusing a lot more on doing radar,” said Alan Remick, lead parking services officer for PTS. “It has enabled us to do a lot more of it, which is awesome because it keeps the speed down in the garage, which also helps with the safety of the campus in general.”

Although many drivers did not notice the radar enforcement before, it’s nothing new to UA parking garages. David Heineking, executive director for PTS, said the technology has been in place for years.

“We started the program in about 2008 or 2009,” Heineking said. “We did it after noticing a number of complaints about peoples’ driving in the garages, in particular speeding, stop signs, wrong-way driving, all of those types of things.”

Speeding became an issue in the garages when the speed limit was raised from five mph to 15 mph, according to Remick.

“There was some real concern from some people that there was going to be crashes,” Heineking said. “We haven’t see a lot of crashes, but we felt it was important to take some steps.”

While the lowest price from PTS for a moving violation is $60, prices increase for recurring violations. A third moving violation, for example, costs about $170.

PTS boasts a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to driving over the limit.

“Fifteen miles per hour is a reasonable and good speed limit,” Remick said. “Technically, it’s zero-tolerance, however, between 17 and 19 miles per hour, we’ll issue someone a warning. If they’re going 20 miles per hour or more, we will issue them a citation. If they already received a warning, we’ll go ahead and issue a citation.”

Speeding is typically enforced by law enforcement agencies, but PTS has jurisdiction to monitor and issue speeding citations in UA garages.

“The [University of Arizona Police Department] cannot enforce most traffic laws in a parking garage, so it falls to us to enforce [them],” Heineking said. “It’s not a criminal or civil, it’s a violation of Parking and Transportation [Services] rules. So it’s similar to a parking ticket in the enforcement and the penalties.”

Once PTS identifies a speeder with a certified radar, they track down the vehicle and issue a citation. That won’t get a driver in trouble with insurance, however.

Heineking said PTS does not notify insurance companies about the citation and its citations do not go on a driver’s record.

When and where PTS will setup radar enforcement is not public and the technology is not used every day.

If a driver is caught with multiple speeding violations and other traffic citations in parking garages, it can leave them without a parking permit, in the Dean of Students Office or even left to deal with UAPD, according to Remick.

“We would look at the totality of what they’ve done, look at the thing as a whole … and then they may do a Dean of Students referral. [The UA] may possibly revoke their parking privileges—there’s different things they can do,” Remick said. “They may be referred to [UAPD] for prosecution. It just depends on the situation.”

Heineking said the goal is to take more preventative measures rather than punitive ones. PTS has made radar enforcement visible to drivers with a light-up board displaying an oncoming vehicle’s speed.

“Our goal is not to write tickets, our goal is to get people to drive safely in the garages,” Heineking said. “The idea is that sometimes people don’t realize they’re going as fast as they’re going. … Believe me, if we never wrote another ticket again, that would be just fine with me.”

While no motorist revels at the sight of a manila envelope on their windshield, Heineking said he believes what he and PTS do is important for the safety of students and anyone parking on campus.

“Imagine if everyone was driving 35 miles per hour in the garage,” Heineking said. “What we do is important: It’s for safety. It’s to protect the rights of the people who pay for permits.” 


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