Towing a major concern as some drivers park illegally

By Richard Snowden

With thousands of students having returned to NIU for the fall semester, parking is once again at a premium at many local apartment complexes.

The difficulty in locating parking spots has led to an increase in the number of cars being towed, although the situation has improved recently, said Allison Bakanec, a spokeswoman for Star Properties, 801 Lucinda Ave.

“Back in September, there was quite a bit of towing going on for a while, but it has slowed down recently,” she said.

And parking problems tend to increase during special events, said Jim Mason, owner of Mason Properties, 120 N. Annie Glidden Road.

“We don’t have too many problems, but it depends on the time of year,” Mason said. “For instance, during Homecoming or other big events we see an increase in illegal parking.”

Despite the recent drop in illegal parking at Star Properties, Bakanec said the problem is still persistent.

“It varies quite a bit, but on any given day we have several people who try to park illegally on our lots,” she said. “I think the main reason we see people getting towed is because they’re trying to get a parking spot close to the campus.”

Mason voiced a similar sentiment, but more bluntly.

“Often, it’s just people being lazy, belligerent or just not paying attention to signs or whatever,” he said. “A lot of people try to play dumb to get themselves out of trouble. We’ve had one guy towed probably five or 10 times.”

At local apartment complexes, many of the problems with illegal parking are caused by guests rather than residents.

“We sell parking stickers for residents, and if you have a sticker you won’t get towed,” Bakanec said. “Our tenants don’t have too many problems since they live here and have permits. Most of the people who complain are guests who park illegally on our lots.”

Mason explained that parking regulations are created by the City of DeKalb rather than property owners, adding the owners receive no compensation from towing companies.

Bakanec said residents at Star Properties have had occasional problems with its towing company.

“We’ve had issues at times with our tow company, for instance when tenants have a sticker but it’s in the wrong place and they get towed because of that,” she said. “That’s all up to the tow company’s discretion, though; we don’t have any control over that.”

Some Star Properties residents said parking has been problematic at times.

“In our building it’s hard because you can’t park here if you don’t live here, so if you have friends around there’s really nowhere to park,” said Alex Cipolla, a sophomore communication major. “I haven’t had problems personally since I have a pass, but other than that it’s hard.”

Alina Wagner, a sophomore undeclared major and another Star Properties resident, agreed.

“I haven’t had any problems with parking, but one of my friends who parked illegally did,” Wagner said.