Students Continue Struggle With Limited Parking

Diana Petras

Each semester parking becomes a chore for both students and faculty members. Most students opt to arrive on campus early, at least two hours before class, to try to beat the morning, afternoon or evening traffic.

Even upon arrival, the first few weeks into the semester are a hassle for students in all of the parking lots. They waste about 10 to 20 minutes because of bumper-to-bumper traffic in and outside of each lot.

To make matters even worse, other drivers are forced to pass vulture-like-people stopped in the parking lots that are waiting to attack the next person leaving for an available parking spot.

“I come in [to campus] on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning,” said Kinesiology major Michael Gonzales. “I park near the McDonald’s parking lot and it’s just terrible. You’re forced to sit around and wait for a parking spot and stacked parking doesn’t do a good job either.”

With the current construction of the new parking structure, relief for the parking lot blues may just be around the corner as the project nears its expected completion in late August. Gonzales believes that anything will help. “There should be no problem after the structure is finished,” he said. “But who knows.”

“Parking is terrible and has gotten worse this semester,” said Director of Business Services, Bill Taylor. “We have a problem where students, faculty and staff are vying for parking. We used to have some faculty members park in the upper parking lot. We can’t do that now because the students need the parking.

“One of the problems with our part-time faculty is that they come to campus and they have to leave.They have to have convenient parking. So any available parking spots on campus were marked for the part timers.”

However, GCC is not the only campus with parking problems. “It’s not uncommon,” said Taylor. “Cal Poly had a new parking structure built in. Parking is always a limitation and it’s nothing new. It’s always been a problem and we’ve finally been able to do something about it.”

He also said that the school has asked administrators, classified employees and other faculty members to park off campus to alleviate the parking situation for the students. However, Biology and Physical Science Division Administrative Assistant, Robyn Fea is not affected by the parking situation.

“I park off campus at the church the school has set up on Wabasso [avenue],” she said. “It’s a 12-minute walk. It’s amazing how students can spend 12 minutes circling and circling [the parking lots], if they can’t find a place to park on campus all they need to do is go up to Wabasso. The parking is not restricted.

“The biggest complaint is that they never have a place to park. But yes you can. You just need to walk a little. That’s my solution. But the parking situation is going to be solved. We’re going to have that lovely parking structure in the fall.”
The total budget for the new parking structure and to improve the current parking lot is about $29 million.

“Construction is about $26 million and about $3 million towards everything from testing and inspection to engineering,” said Taylor. “We will be doubling the number of spaces in the upper parking lot before construction with about 1,185 new ones.”
He also said the campus’ parking limitation is one of the reasons why the school is affected by low enrollment.

“I talked to a student the other day that bought a permit and he can’t find a parking spot when he needs to come on campus,” he said. “So his parents are dropping him off.”
However, there are some people do not have the luxury of having someone to drop them off so they are unable to go to class because they cannot find a parking spot.

“One concern that we hear from students is lack of parking and we’re doing our best to meet that with the new parking structure,” said Taylor.

Students can adjust to the current parking situation. Vice President of Administrative Services, Larry Serot said that students are allowed to parallel park along Verdugo Road and La Ca§ada as long as they have a student parking permit. “But the spots get filled up quickly,” he said.

“The parking structure will be open for the fall semester,” said Taylor. “I think it would be very difficult to fill up the new parking structure. We don’t guarantee a parking spot, but the availability of a parking spot should be much, much better in the fall.”