The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Curb controversy over parking on Hillcrest

 Curb controversy over parking on Hillcrest
Photo by Tom Rodgers
Curb controversy over parking on Hillcrest

Curb controversy over parking on Hillcrest (Photo by Tom Rodgers)

Commuters beware when searching for the prime parking spot on Hillcrest Avenue. The signs may warn of tickets for those parked past the four-hour limit, but there is another fine that University Park Police seem even more concerned about.Tickets are issued for vehicles that are on or over the curb.

“I can write about 10 tickets a day just on this strip here, but I can’t always get here,” University Park Officer Stanley Burkmann said.

The strip Burkmann is referring to is the infamous section of Hillcrest Avenue on the north side between University Boulevard and McFarlin Boulevard. And the majority of tickets he is writing are for curb violations, not the time limit.

Students, faculty and staff park along Hillcrest for a number of reasons. For students, one reason is to avoid the $200 parking permit SMU charges to park vehicles on campus.

“Its ridiculous for me to pay, what, $200 for parking when I have to drive around for hours looking for a spot in one of the designated areas, and they are far from my classes,” junior Maria Fisher said.

Fisher received a ticket for having her right rear wheel of her Ford Explorer over the curb on Oct. 13.

” I saw that it was a little over but the curbs are small and in really bad shape so I didn’t think much of it,” Fisher said.

So, why is this particular section of Hillcrest prone to drivers parking on or over the curb?

“The reason the curbs are basically destroyed [is] because people don’t take the time to move their car when they see they are up on the curb,” Burkmann said.

Drivers try parking close to the curb to avoid sticking out too far on the heavily traveled Hillcrest Avenue. The present condition of the curbs maybe a result of poor design, years of run off from parking lots above street level or even sprinkler patterns from the campus.

Another SMU Junior, Ilana Edell, received a ticket for a curb violation and feels it’s not the driver’s fault because the curb isn’t a standard curb.

“Its not that $25 is too much for me to pay, it’s the principle of it. My tire was just touching the curb and I got a ticket,” Edell said. “I tried to show the judge pictures of my car with the curb and the conditions of the curb and I didn’t even see the judge. That would take an appointment, lines and just too much time.”

Edell spent about 40 minutes Wednesday night at the City of University Park Court House trying to resolve her ticket. She believes she shouldn’t have to pay for the ticket because she didn’t do anything wrong.

After standing in line, Edell said she met with a prosecutor, who told her he would cut the ticket in half. Edell wasn’t concerned about the amount but an explanation of what she did wrong. Her ticket has “crub” handwritten in the explanation section and a “no park zone” box checked in the violation section of the ticket.

“He [U.P. prosecutor] just said that I can go wait in another line for 45 minutes, get an appointment with the judge in a couple of weeks, and then possibly lose the case and pay $200. Then he said, ‘$25 or maybe $200, I would pay the $25’ and that was it,” Edell said.

University Park’s Jason Speer is the assistant director of public works and is aware of the problem with that section of Hillcrest.

“I haven’t actually seen that particular section of the curb and gutter, but I am aware of its condition and need for replacement,” Speer said. “University Park will be redoing the entire section of Hillcrest in the next few years, so it won’t be wise to spend the money to fix it and then rip it up in a year or two.”

According to Speer, the average cost for curb and gutter replacement can run the city at least $30 a linear foot.

“I don’t want to take the parking away in that area by replacing the curb more times then we have to,” Speer said. “But, in a year or two, it is going to be a real hassle for anyone traveling or parking near that section of Hillcrest Avenue.”

In the meantime, both Burkmann and Speer suggested to be careful when leaving a vehicle parked on or near the curb.

“Just check your parking when you leave your vehicle,” Burkmann said. “If it’s on the curb, move it off. I’m not out to get these kids or students on parking, but I need to do my job.”

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