Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Conflicting instructions for affixing Nassau Community College parking permits could really jam drivers up

He read, he registered, they arrived. ("They" are the permits for parking on campus at Nassau Community College.)
Now he's perplexed. So am I.

So unfolds the saga of student parking at Nassau Community College.

As I previously reported in "Nassau Community College has driven up the cost of parking on campus," all registered students who plan to park on campus must register their vehicles and display pre-paid parking decals as of February 2007. The non-refundable permits cost $5, $17.50 or $45 per vehicle (depending upon when and for what time period(s) they are purchased). Violators risk incurring $90 fines.

The College's Vehicle Registration Program Information Sheet clearly and publicly states:
All vehicles must be registered to be legally permitted to park on campus. However, registration does not guarantee a parking space in any particular parking area. In time the program should prevent non-registered vehicles from parking on campus, thereby making more space available for registered vehicles. There is currently ample parking available on campus for all students although some spaces may not be conveniently located.
That sounds reasonable. The following message on the back of each parking permit (which one must purchase in order to read), however, does not:

A parking decal entitles a vehicle to parking on the campus when space is available.
At peak class periods(9:00 AM to 1:00 PM) all lots may be full.
Alternate methods of transportation are strongly encouraged.

Say what? Nassau Community College is a commuter school located in the heart of the suburbs. Many students, like my friend, work full-time and don't have the luxury of time to dally with public transportation. That's exactly why parking spaces are at such a premium on campus.

But that's not the half of it. Conflicting instructions on the back of the decal and the placard it's attached to are enough to put another bee in one's bonnet.

The tag's back side, immediately above the WARNING! message, reads:

Peel label from this side and affix label to the inside of the windshield.

A windshield is in front of the car, as indicated in picture one. However, the placard headed "READ THIS FIRST!" advises:
Follow the instructions on the back of the permit for removal and attach to the window on the driver's side of the car towards the rear of the vehicle.

The driver's side is on the left, the rear left window is mounted on the door behind the driver. Specifically, it's on the door that the chauffeur in picture two is about to open.

Since tags are non-refundable and placing them incorrectly could cost $90 per day, per car, my friend and I phoned one of the four numbers listed in the Vehicle Registration Program Information Sheet. Two of the numbers didn't apply [those for the Senior Observer Office and the Lifelong Learning Program (Continuing and Professional Studies)]. The one that seemed appropriate (for the Office of Public Safety) was out of order. So we called Credentials Order Processing Services, Inc. at 1-800-646-1858.

The lady who answered the phone clarified what school we were calling about and conferred with someone else. Then she informed us that both sets of instructions that accompanied the decal were incorrect. Proper sticker placement is in a vehicle's rear window (depicted in image three), on the left side, behind the driver!

She further explained, security officers seeking to enforce the parking rules would find it easier to inspect parking stickers and license plates if the vehicles were all parked in the same direction and the decals were uniformly placed in rear-view windows. In contrast, it would be too time-consuming to walk up and down the rows to inspect stickers affixed to side windows.

That makes sense, even though Nassau Community College does not mandate either nose-in or nose-out parking. At least, not yet. Since that's the case, it would also make sense of all decals were uniformly placed on vehicles' windshields.
Where the rubber meets the road is the location where Nassau Community College and the county's Traffic Violations Bureau decide permits should be posted. Since that will remain foggy until the school administration returns from "Winterim" break, it could be easy to get jammed up by the three sets of conflicting instructions. My friend will CYA by propping, but not gluing, his decals where Credentials Order Processing Services advised.