Cal State Fullerton has opened its doors to nearly 40,000 registered students this semester. It’s known as a commuter campus, which means that one of the biggest problems this has been posed for the student body is where to find parking.
Many students don’t hesitate to say that one of their least favorite things about CSUF is the parking. On top of the stress students face between balancing their classes and other responsibilities, planning their schedules around when they’ll be able to find parking creates a need for a whole extra layer of time management. Many students are becoming more creative when dealing with parking to ensure that they get to their classes on time.
Michael Madrid, a senior philosophy major, said that there’s a big problem with cars parking by the elevators in parking structures and waiting for pedestrians to walk by so the cars can take their newly opened spots.
“In the beginning, it wasn’t such a problem. There would maybe be one car, but now we’re talking about rows of cars where you can’t drive down aisles, so it’s making it even harder to get around,” Madrid said.
One example of this was experienced by Austria Silk, a senior communications major. Silk was walking to her car in the Eastside parking structure when a fellow female student approached her and asked if she would accompany her to her car, which was illegally parked by the paid meters.
“We walked back to her car and then she drove me to my car and waited for me to get out and then took my spot,” Silk said.
She said she wasn’t surprised at all by the girl’s request.
“You do what you’ve got to do for a spot,” Silk said.
Other students expressed the importance of getting to school much earlier than the time before their classes actually start.
Rachel Vito, a communications major, returns to school every Monday morning from her home in Temecula.
“Monday morning I have a class at 11 and I leave at seven in the morning just to be here by nine to get parking,” Vito said. “Even though I drive two hours, I still don’t get parking (on campus).”
Whether it means having to flag down strangers or drive around for over an hour to park, some students are beginning to feel like purchasing a $236 permit isn’t worth the headache this semester.
“I paid like 230 bucks for it and I’ve literally only parked in the structure maybe twice this semester,” Vito said.
Melody Sasis, an English major, said that due to her demanding class schedule and family circumstances, she decided against purchasing a parking permit this semester.
“I had to choose between getting a parking pass and not being guaranteed a permit or paying for tuition,” Sasis said.
The astronomical cost of the parking pass isn’t worth the hassle for students like Sasis. With the burden of cost and uncertainty over actually finding a parking spot, she has been forced to find off-campus parking alternatives within the local neighborhoods, sometimes even having to park as far away as Fullerton College and walking to the CSUF campus. More often, however, she finds herself parking in residential areas.
“You need to know people in the neighborhood in order to park in front of their houses, because in some neighborhoods, some people will get an officer to cite you,” Sasis said.
Luckily for Sasis, she knows someone, so leaving her car parked in the neighborhood doesn’t come at such a risk. However, that is not always the case for many students who take the risk of parking elsewhere.
“I have to park about a mile away from school to get reliable parking,” said Nathan Kofman, senior CTVA major.
Kofman said he decided to not purchase a parking pass this semester because he didn’t want to spend so much money.
Students are not the only ones having to deal with this issue head-on. Faculty and professors are experiencing their own set of difficulties within their own designated parking lots.
“Last Thursday I had a meeting at 10 o’clock, but I just got here at 8 (a.m.) because I didn’t want to have to look for parking at 10 o’clock,” said Professor of English Comparative Literature and Linguistics, Lana Dalley,Ph.D.,
Driving around searching for a parking spot can feel like a lonely trek, but it’s a problem shared by everyone on campus. This semester, the Parking and Transportation Services department sold 18,875 parking permits while there are only 8,408 designated student parking spots, 233 of which are specifically labeled for disabled. This problem is mediated by the fact that different students come to school on different days, but alternating class schedules are not enough to solve the parking problem.
“I would hate to think that students are graduating from Cal State Fullerton and when they think back to their experiences, parking stands out as something they really remember. I feel like you shouldn’t remember the parking at your university,” Dalley said.
While that should be the case, many students and faculty members may be remembering these experiences longer than they had hoped to.