By Isabella Darcy
Campus Town recently implemented the usage of “Barnacles” or window blockades to its parking regulation process, eliminating towing for parking violations.
The Barnacle is a device that Campus Town maintenance staff place on vehicles that violate parking regulations in order to immobilize them. The device works by attaching to a vehicle's windshield via two large suction cups, obstructing motorists' view. The Barnacle remains attached to the windshield until a $200 violation fine is paid.
“We want to enforce the parking rules but we don’t want to send people down to the yard every time they make a mistake, so we are doing it this way,” said director of sales and marketing for the PRC Group Jeff Kearns.
Campus Town parking regulations are violated when a motorist parks in a residential space that does not belong to them or in front of a Campus Town retail location that they are not actively a patron of.
Prior to the implementation of the Barnacle, vehicles that violated Campus Town parking regulations were towed and taken to a yard in Trenton. Motorists would have to travel to the yard to pay a fine to pick up their vehicle.
With the Barnacle, vehicles stay where they are parked, and motorists can settle the violation fine directly at their vehicle.
Sophomore marketing major Gianna Sassi recently removed a Barnacle from her vehicle. Sassi said that she found the process to be a quick and convenient alternative to towing.
“I like how I was able to do it myself rather than having to contact a company or going to get my car,” Sassi said. “It is a way more time efficient parking fine for sure, but the only downside is that you have to pay with a credit or debit card, and pay on the spot.”
To pay a violation fine, motorists must visit payandrelease.com and enter the five-digit number located either above the Barnacle’s keypad or on the side of the device. Once they have done that, the violation fine and refundable deposit amounts will appear on the screen. These are $200 and $300, respectively, and must be paid for using a banking card.
Motorists must then enter their cell phone number to receive a three-digit verification code by text. After the phone number is verified, motorists should enter their card details and select “Pay,” review the transaction agreement and select “Confirm.” Motorists then receive a four-digit release code that they should enter into the Barnacle.
Once the release code is entered into the Barnacle, the device can be removed from the windshield and handed in to the return receptacle located at the corner of the Fitness Center, 700 Campus Town Drive.
So long as the Barnacle is returned to the receptacle without any damage, the $300 deposit will be refunded to the motorists banking card approximately three to five business days after the Barnacle is handed in.
“The process was pretty simple,” Sassi said. “It took me less than a minute to take it off, so it was easy.”
While Sassi feels that the Barnacle is an efficient solution, another Campus Town resident, sophomore elementary education major Faith Cerreta, fears that the Barnacle may pose some obstacles.
“It can be difficult to carry groceries from the roof of Lot 7 all the way to my Campus Town apartment,” Cerreta said. “The Barnacle creates challenges when wrongfully parking my car in Campus Town to quickly drop my groceries off, since they might be more inclined to put a Barnacle on a car than they would be to tow one.”
Cerreta said that she is afraid that she may have to pay a large fine for only a few minutes of violating parking regulations.
The easiest way for motorists to avoid getting a Barnacle put on their vehicle is to always abide by Campus Town parking regulations.
“We’d rather people respected the rules, but obviously [parking violations] is something that continues,” Kearns said. “We saw [the Barnacle] as a better way to try to control the problem."