With 2,453 parking spaces and six lots around the campus, which include 33 handicapped and 34 motorcycle, why are some students having a hard time finding a place to park?
The first weeks of a new semester tend to be the worst when trying to find a space. However, as the semester progresses, it begins to get easier, possibly due to students dropping classes.
“I think it got busier when they did the block scheduling, so some classes start all at the same time. So definitely in the morning is the time that it’s more crowded,” Sara Heitzman, 21, said.
Some students weren’t aware there are six lots available, thinking that there were only around three or four. Marc Anthony Perales, 18, has classes in the morning, but when he goes to his car around 9 a.m. he’s well aware of the traffic.
“When I do come out though I notice on every floor there’s about five cars waiting to ask me if I’m leaving,” he said.
The consensus seems to be that Lot B has the convenience many students are looking for, which in turn generates high traffic during certain parts of the day.
“Just from my estimation, it’s a very convenient location. When you park here you can walk or take the elevator and you’re almost at the center of the campus,” Police Chief Gary Montecuollo said.
To try and get the word out to students about the other lots and what their parking passes can do for them, Montecuollo is collaborating with Wendy Grove, public information coordinator. He wants to use the electronic marquee in the front of the school to do this.
“I think it’s just a matter of reinforcing that so that people have the opportunity to know where they can park,” he said.
While students might suggest the building of a new parking structure, Montecuollo said “We’re already in a financial crisis, so while that might be a potential solution down the road, realistically right now we need to maybe look at other options.”
Though there are students who bike, walk and take public transportation to get to the school, the number of cars, and single riders, is still high as it is all around southern California. Montecuollo thinks that a couple of ways to possibly alleviate the problems that some seem to have with parking is to carpool or to park at an off-site location.
Michelle Ibarra, 19, who gets dropped off at the school around 8:30 a.m. even notices the parking. In regards to what could help against the flow of traffic, she said, “More parking spaces.”
While some students might stay in one parking structure looking for that special space, Patrick Ayvazyan, 29, looks all around.
Waiting for a spot becomes a game in itself. Students in their cars attempt to be the first at an unoccupied parking space. Not only does it play into a person’s skill of patience, but at times it plays like a puzzle game. The choice of either going down one aisle or another can be their undoing, and before they know it there’s already someone else waiting at that intended spot with their blinker on.
“We have a beautiful campus. It’s really accessible by a number of different arteries such as freeways and city streets. We have opportunities to park but at the same time we have a large population who comes to our campus,” Montecuollo said.
On the GCC website, under the article “A & R Guide,” is a subheading titled “Parking and Parking Fee.” On this page is information that students might not know about. That information includes the fact that anyone with a “valid student parking permit” doesn’t have to pay the parking meters. While the article itself hasn’t been updated to reflect the current price of a parking pass ($70), that fact still stands true.
While the college doesn’t mail parking passes anymore, parking areas are available to check online, since maps are not given to students when they buy their pass. Though these aren’t handed out with the purchase of a parking pass, perhaps the inclusion of a map with designated parking areas on it could help many students.
“That would help a lot. Of course,” Ayvazyan said.
“I think if we just jump to the solutions without understanding the problem then we aren’t really serving the full best interest of what we need to do to answer that question, ‘What could be done?’” Montecuollo said.
Montecuollo encourages feedback about anything that has to do with parking, and to do this students can email [email protected], as well as contact Montecuollo or or by calling the non-emergency information line (818) 551-5205, or ext. 5205 from a campus phone.