Too many students, not enough parking spots

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With a new school year in tow, California Lutheran University’s Campus Safety has decided to implement a new parking system for students, faculty and staff, in order to make parking on campus easier and more effective.

Every school year students seem to complain about similar problems, and campus parking always seems to be an issue that’s at the top of the list.

Amanda Power, who is a senior criminal justice major, has been a commuter at Cal Lutheran for the past four years. Power has some trouble finding parking close to her classes, but is able to find a spot quickly after deciding it’s better to park by the gym and walk to class.

“I usually drive around for 10-20 minutes,” said Power. “On a really bad day it’ll take around half an hour, but I just figure I’ll go park somewhere so I can take the 10 minutes to walk to class instead of looking for parking.”

Fred Miller, director of Campus Safety at Cal Lutheran works closely with his team to make sure that parking spots are being utilized as best as they can be on campus.

“Twice a year we look at the parking on campus, to adjust it. About four times a year, every semester we do two parking surveys. We usually do them on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We do it at 10 in the morning, one in the afternoon and at four” Miller said.

By completing these surveys, Campus Safety was able to add more parking spaces around campus, as well as designate areas to demographics that would best utilize them.

“This year we did make some changes. We were able to add some more parking spaces. [For example] about 16 parking spaces in Mount Clef Hall [were added.] We had a lot of students last year with cars and they were coming back and finding that they couldn’t find a place to park,” Miller said. Tyler Grant ‘13, who is the operations assistant at Campus Safety, said that, “There used to be a yellow line right at Mount Clef. That line has shifted a little bit north to accommodate those new spots.”

Mount Clef wasn’t the only area on campus that benefited from these changes. More spots were also added by Pederson Hall, the Ullman Commons, throughout the west side of campus, and more to allow for students to find parking more easily. Faculty and staff spots were also reallocated to help adjunct professors finds parking more easily.

Miller assured that Campus Safety is always trying to do their best to maximize the utilization of parking on campus. “We’re reallocating and adding spaces to better serve the community,” said Miller. “We’re very much in tune. You can get to any place on this campus, walking at a normal pace within 15 minutes, provided with free parking. Other schools charge $400-500.”

Unlike other institutions, Cal Lutheran doesn’t charge for parking permits. According to Miller, there are also no hidden fees in the tuition.

Although Power believes that the issue of parking has become worse over the course of her time at Cal Lutheran, she doesn’t think it’s Campus Safety’s fault.

“It’s gotten worse. I don’t think it’s the fact that they don’t have parking or that they’re not adding parking. It’s that they’re taking in so many students. Every year they increase the freshmen and transfer classes and they only add so many parking spots, so they don’t equate,” Power said.

Miller shared that a parking professional recently came to campus and believes that compared to other schools, Cal Lutheran didn’t have a parking problem.

“We had an individual who is a president of a major parking company out in Atlanta on campus look at the campus and said we don’t have a parking problem. [He said] “let me tell you what a college parking problem is. You have used all of your parking spaces, every one, you charge a lot of money, and the neighbors won’t let you park in the neighborhood, and you have 300-400 cars of students who can’t park anywhere within half a mile. That’s a parking problem,” Miller said.

Parking on campus will continue to be a topic that makes everyone talk, but with campus structure continuously changing, only the future will show how the new parking rules will pan out.

Natalie Kalamdaryan
Senior Writer

Published on September 17, 2014