Parking on campus is a delicate issue with no possible quick fix. Even at week seven, finding parking is still a struggle.
Cal Poly Pomona Chief of Police Dario Robinson shared some tips on what students can do to find a spot and get to class on time.
He said he understands students are frustrated when they come to campus for a 10 a.m. lecture and can’t find a close parking space right before class.
Chief Robinson said 300 spaces have been added to the overflow lots and Parking and Transportation Services has added extra shuttles to transport students to and from class more quickly. He said part of the issue with space came from additional students coming to class during add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.
“Let’s say there’s 30 other people [trying to sign up for class], all those people are now going to take parking spaces,” Robinson said. “Parking becomes more available as students settle into their classes.”
Robinson encouraged students to show up early, park in the overflow lots and take a shuttle to class. The shuttles have air conditioning, students are shielded from the sun, they’re safe and they’re comfortable, Robinson said.
“If it was up to us, I would build parking structures everywhere, but parking structures cost a lot and that cost is covered only with what students pay for parking permits,” Robinson said.
The difficulty comes from finding the balance between the need for parking and the cost of parking. A new parking structure would take years to build and could only be funded by what students pay for permits, so current students wouldn’t get to benefit from it and would still have to pay for a more expensive permit.
Hannah Gabriel is a fourth-year apparel merchandising and management student. She said she recently spent 45 minutes finding parking in Parking Structure 2, Lot D and Lot M and couldn’t find parking.
“I circled around twice and couldn’t find parking, so I ended up parking at Jinza [restaurant] and paid $5 to Uber to campus,” Gabriel said.
Expanding the lots on campus isn’t an option because they’re land-locked, Robinson said.
Other issues come from students who are parked illegally in red zones or faculty/staff lots. This raises safety concerns during emergencies and takes away spaces from instructors and staff.
Many students get into the habit of parking in a specific area close to their classes, which can be frustrating if the area is full, Robinson said.
He said he understands this, but still encouraged students to park further and take the shuttle.
Bethany Hernandez is a third-year animal health major. She said her struggle comes from finding parking around noon.
“My first class on Mondays and Wednesdays is at 3 p.m. but I have to get here a couple of hours early to find parking,” Hernandez said. “I guess it isn’t too bad because I can go to the library to study, but it’s still frustrating sometimes.”
Robinson also employs traffic guides to direct the flow of traffic during busy hours. He said the guides prioritize shuttles when directing because they understand students need to get to class on time.
“People will spend 30 minutes trying to look for a spot in this area because they want to park here,” Robinson said. “Suppose they just park in overflow and enjoy the walk or wait for the tram [shuttle].”
Other students have an easier time with parking.
Second-year business major Isaiah Shaw said the situation could be worse.
“I visit friends at UCLA a lot, and you would not believe the parking there,” Shaw said. “It’s so much worse than here.”
Chief Robinson said he is open to suggestions from students, because he knows this is a difficult and delicate issue.
He said all he can do is try to fix the little things, but he’s open and willing to hear what students have to say about fixing the big things.