Driving around in circles trying to find a parking spot is not an ideal way to start the first day of your college semester. Thousands of students will converge on campus Aug. 15 which can result in parking frustrations.
OCCC Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said students who plan ahead can avoid that.
He said students who arrive to campus early fare better at finding parking and getting to class on time than those who arrive just at the time class is starting.
One resource students can use to assist them while parking is following the OCCC Parking Twitter at @OCCCparking. Fitzpatrick said he encourages all students to follow and check the site frequently.
“We can kind of keep them advised as best we can. When the lot is full, they don’t have to come in and try to look around and see. We usually try to update it every 10 to 15 minutes… ,” he said.
Fitzpatrick said parking in less popular lots also will help. He said, during the first couple of weeks, students tend to park in the lots closest to 74th Street and May where college entrances are located instead of looking for parking at the back of the campus.
“There is normally ample parking if they’ll go around to D, E, and F lots on the back end,” he said.
“… Timewise, they will probably reach their class faster by going there and finding a parking place quickly, getting into the building and just walking down from the College Union area over to the Main Building or wherever they have their class.”
Students will be fined for infractions such as parking in an employee/faculty spot or handicap spot.
Fitzpatrick said students are most often fined for parking in an employee/faculty spot.
Students also can’t create a parking spot.
“They can’t park on the grass,” he said. “If there’s no more lines painted, that’s the end of the line.
If they park there, they’ll get a ticket,” he said.
“If they’re blocking traffic, they can get their car towed. We can only spend so much time trying to find them.”
Safety also is a concern.
Fitzpatrick said students should lock their cars and keep their valuables out of sight, and not hesitate to contact OCCC Campus Police if they need help.
“If they see anything suspicious or uncomfortable out in the parking lots, call the campus police immediately, and we’ll go check it out,” he said.
Fitzpatrick said after the first few weeks, things should mellow out.
Campus Police also provide escorts to cars, if requested, and can unlock doors.
For more information, contact the OCCC Campus Police Department at 405-682-7872 or visit www.occc.edu/police.