"Monday has been very hectic because of the traffic, because of the students starting back to school at Tech. They do not realize they have parked in a wrong area," said Parking Control Officer Ophelia Leos.
For 18 years, Ophelia has carried two weapons while she works the streets of Lubbock. She carries her ticket computer and a make-shift chalk marking stick. She says that is all she needs to work on one of the busiest days of the year for parking control. "You ready, let's go," says Ophelia.
"This is a residential parking only. It is from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. So this car does not have a permit, so I need to issue him a ticket," said Ophelia after spotting another parking offender.
"No, that is a no parking. You parked in a no parking," explained Ophelia to a student who got a ticketed. "Oh sorry," was the students response.
Responses like those make Ophelia believe students are ignoring parking laws. That's why sometimes you will see her taking the time to educate students before a ticket is even issued. "I'm explaining to Esther this is 45 minute parking on the 2400 block of 14th St. On University it is 45 minutes also. Merchants don't want Tech students to park too long around the peak of the afternoon," she explained to a Tech Freshman. "Right, I understand," said the student.
But don't think Ophelia is a parking angel herself. "I used to work downtown before I was in parking control. I paid my tickets all the time," she told NewsChannel 11. "Did you get them frequently?", we asked. "Sometimes," she said.
Everyone is human and we are all bound to make mistakes. But remember this, ignoring parking laws will definitely get you a green ticket on your windshield.
Not everyone had trouble finding a parking spot. About 800 Tech students and faculty took advantage of the new parking garage. Unfortunately, the garage spaces are sold out. So, if you want a space, you'll have to be patient. Tech officials say another 800 people are on a waiting list. By the way, the permit for the parking garage is $250, compared to the $110 it costs to use the commuter lots.