EDITORIAL: Parking stresses students, staff, faculty

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The surest sign that we are officially free of pandemic restrictions is the $50 bill we dished out for parking this semester.

Cars occupying the spots in student parking in the parking garage of Riverside City College on Terracina Drive (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)

Despite having over ten different lots, including a 5 level parking garage, Riverside City College is once again the home to jam-packed parking lots and occasional collisions due to the influx of traffic.

It was nice to be able to park without having to pay over the last few semesters and it made sense since many students were still enrolled in online courses and on campus attendance was still low. 

This semester noticeably welcomed an abundance of students and it is more than obvious we’ve returned to being a crowded campus, especially when trying to find a place to park. 

If you’ve arrived on campus for a class that starts twenty minutes from your arrival, chances are you will be late. Without fault. 

It appears that the majority of students arrive early to begin their search because of the widespread knowledge that parking during the first few weeks will be a pain and insanely time consuming. This creates a massive buildup of traffic on every end of campus including on Magnolia Avenue, the main street that the college lies on. 

Many of you reading this know the pain of circling up and down the parking structure on Terracina Drive, exiting to the parking lot near the administration offices and then back over to the field lot to, still, no avail. 

It’s common to have students trickling into class late for the first 15 minutes all complaining about the lack of parking. Many professors have been vocal about the same issues and fortunately for us, as students, they have been forgiving of our late entrances. Or rather, poor attendance right at the start of semester due to lack of parking availability. 

Aside from adding more spaces by building onto the already existing parking garage, which would create a whole different nightmare, the administration needs to find some way of managing the parking better. 

Perhaps permits that are for specific days, or specific locations based on class location. These permits could cost less. 

Yes, there are daily permits available for purchase but that doesn’t solve the problem for a student who may only need the pass for half of the term, but still pays full price. The college does offer late start, short term courses after all. 

Incentivising public transit and ride sharing are other options that the administration should be looking into to curb this ongoing problem for students. Other community colleges offer free shuttle rides from certain points near the campus to students and staff with their college ID’s who either park far from the main campus or walk to school. 

Parking has been aggravated by the clear overselling of parking permits. Oddly, although most of us paid the $52 fee for the permit, some students have said they paid only $30 for the same exact permit. Viewpoints was unsuccessful in attempts made to contact Parking Enforcement to clarify the gap in fees paid from one student to another for the same exact permit.  

Obviously, not all students have to be on campus at the same time. So, more parking permits than there are parking spaces can be sold with the expectation that overlap will be rare. 

Is that the case though?

Most classes run two times a week, and the majority of students are on campus between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The overlap is as real as is the struggle.

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