Parking tips, traffic guidelines given

With construction ongoing around OCCC, some roads and parking lots on campus have been rendered inaccessible.

Knowing where and how to park on campus can alleviate some of the stress the beginning of the semester brings, said OCCC Police Chief James Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said officers will be patrolling parking lots during the first week of school as well as assisting with traffic. He said some lots fill faster than others.

“We strongly recommend people come in off of May Avenue to get to the lots in the back, which [are lots] E, D, and F. [These lots] normally have available parking, even on days where everything is just a mad house up front,” Fitzpatrick said.

“If [students] just drive around to the back, they can generally park, get out, and walk into the building and get to class quicker than just constantly searching for a parking place out in C lot, B lot or A lot.”

Fitzpatrick said another key to avoiding the parking hassle is to get to school early for a couple of weeks.

“The first two days of school, Monday and Tuesday … [students] come early even though they might not have class,” he said. “ … Parking comes and goes.

“But [students] just need to be ready to come to school early for the first week.”

In addition, he said, students need to allow themselves plenty of time for their commute and parking.

Fitzpatrick said students can stay up to date on what parking is like by following the OCCC parking twitter, @occcparking.

“If they will just use it, we give them updates every 10 minutes on if a lot’s closed or full,” he said.

Students also need to be aware of parking and traffic procedures. Fitzpatrick said OCCC parking guidelines will be enforced, even during the first couple weeks of the semester.

“If [students] park in a faculty or employee spot without a decal, they’ll get a ticket.

“If they park in any outdoor fire lane, they’ll get a ticket. If they create a new parking lane on their own … sometimes we’ll have to tow them [and] they will be issued a citation if they do that.”

There is abundant legal parking on campus, Fitzpatrick said.

“[Students] can park in any spot on campus other than disabled parking, fire lanes or faculty employee parking.”

Traffic guidelines also will be enforced, he said.

Students who are caught driving past the “Road Closed” signs on campus, will get a ticket.

“Tickets range from $3 to $25,” Fitzpatrick said.

However, certain parking offenses can be referred to the Oklahoma City Police Department and can carry heftier fines.

Fitzpatrick said parking offenses such as parking in handicap parking or a fire lane is out of the jurisdiction of the campus police.

“If [a student] parks in handicap spots, the fines are much more significant,” Fitzpatrik said.

“We always want to remind them … we enforce parking here on campus, but so does Oklahoma City.

“[The Oklahoma City Police] have a crew of people that go around the city enforcing the disabled parking and those are very, very expensive tickets.

“If you get a ticket in district court, it can be up to $500.

“So, it’s not a smart thing to park in disabled parking.

“The fire department will come along and issue citations for parking in fire lanes.

“So [students] need to be mindful of it.”

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