The Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) will begin issuing tickets to students parked at Girard Park lots if they are seen leaving the park.

The announcement first came in an email by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which informed students of alternate parking locations at Cajun Field with a free commuter permit, hourly parking at Girard Park Circle Parking Tower and hourly parking through the ParkMobile app at: 333 E. University Ave., 119 W. St. Mary Blvd. (behind Burger King), 101 Mildred St. and Zone 17 – the corner closest to UPA Drive.

Ticketing applies only to the parking lots at Girard Park. Students will be able to continue parking on the right side of Girard Park Lane behind the Alumni Center.

Hollis Conway, director of Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture, stated that ticketing will be enforced by people who are checking in on the parking lots, and that they will have to visibly see the person leave their vehicle and walk out of the park before they ticket them.

Conway said that this isn’t meant to discourage students from visiting the park, and that only those who are parking and leaving to campus will be ticketed.

“Plenty of students will come utilize the park. They canopy, they play football, they fish, they come out with their girlfriend and sit. So no, no, we want the students to utilize our park for what the park was intended for,” Conway said. “But it’s not a free parking spot for them to park and go to class all day and come back, because we have no way of making sure that there’s room for the people who are actually coming to the park or people who are renting the facility.”

However, the method that LCG plans to use for watching people leave has some room for error.

“There may be situations where somebody parks and they get out, and it looks like they’re going to campus, and they go somewhere and come back, and we’ll have to address that. But that should be the exception and not the rule,” Conway said.

Those who believe they received a ticket in error can head into the Girard Park office to contest the ticket. Conway advised that people should go to the office as soon as possible if they wish to challenge a ticket.

“It would help right after because then we would know. If they come in three days later, it’s gonna be pretty tough to prove that’s what happened,” Conway said.

Conway shared that this ticketing began as a response to feedback from the community that there wasn’t enough parking for those who wanted to enjoy the park, as well as not having enough room when there is an event going on.

“What would happen is that when the students started parking, they took up everything. So people who were coming to fish, to walk their dog, people who come to exercise, or if we had any events, there was no way to even contact the student to say ‘move your car,’” Conway said. “Because now when you host an event and people pay to rent the facility, there’s no parking. So it became a huge problem. And we started getting some feedback from the community.”

Conway closed by reiterating that Girard Park is available for students to utilize and enjoy, but not just to park and go somewhere else.

“The message is that we would love for every student to utilize our park. It’s set up for them to study, to have recreation and relaxation, mental refreshment, just to enjoy relationships. We want them to be in our park,” Conway said. “If they’re parking here to go to class, then we can’t have that.”