Fight to the death! …for parking

Published: March 12, 2015 | Posted: March 16, 2015 | Written by Kennedy Blevins

Each semester, the race to achievement turns the roads surrounding Riverside City College into more of an ancient Spartan battlefield than a parking lot full of hopeful students. While the  new semester marks new goals and opportunities for many RCC students, searching for limited parking makes the first week of classes more stressful than exciting.

Like any ancient hero, students are faced with a choice between good and evil, and as the clock counts down, desperation sets in. Students go to great lengths to ensure their future, in which a coveted parking space may mean success or failure.

In my short four semesters at RCC, I’ve seen parking go from bad to worse as students honk, yell, dash and dart in an effort to make it to class on time. Now it’s time to ask, how far will students go to secure a space and how can we get back to a more communal environment, in which students respect each other’s goals and efforts?

The standard advice from RCC staff is that students arrive up to an hour before they have class, to allow time for finding a parking spot. However, with construction of the new Student Services Building, this semester has seen fewer parking spots in the face of a growing number of students.

During the first week of class, I arrived two hours prior to my class, only to find a large number of spots had already been taken by 8 a.m. With this limited availability, it’s understandable how parking spots become precious treasures.

“In my years of being at all the campuses, collectively I’ve seen everything from people fist fighting over a parking space, I’ve seen people crash vehicles trying to fit into the same space, vehicles parked up on sidewalks, large cars try to fit in spaces that I wouldn’t even know how someone would get in or out of them,” Sergeant Robert Kleveno, head of the RCCD police department said.

He’s not the only one, any RCC student can see the struggle against time and availability, and the various looks of grief versus relief on the faces those students able to find a spot, and those left searching.

I’ve personally faced the threat of accidents as I go against other students for a space. Both myself and fellow RCC students I’ve spoken with admit to seeing or participating in nearly stalking other students for their parking spots, giving students rides to their cars in order to find a spot, camping out for spots and even willingly parking illegally.

It’s clear that something needs to be done to return RCC to a more communal environment.

Kleveno suggests early arrival, alternative transportation, and most of all: patience. I couldn’t agree more. The earlier you arrive the more time you have available for leisurely searching, even if it means leaving and coming back – which I’ve found success with in the past. Be polite when asking for and giving up your spot, which will make the overall environment friendlier.

Lastly, be open to alternative forms of transportation, whether it’s walking, biking, busing – which is free with your student ID card – or carpooling, because the future of RCC anticipates more students and less spots.

The problem isn’t going away, it’s time for students to take the first step in easing parking tensions, eliminating the battlefield mindset and creating a more wholesome environment for everyone on campus.