Campus parking: A continuous nightmare

Students of Cal Poly Pomona: Start your engines because parking on campus is a continuing nightmare. According to the CPP official website, there are over 26,000 students and over 2,000 faculty and staff, meaning there is not enough parking to accommodate even half of the population on campus.

“There are over 14,000 parking spaces at CPP,” Police Chief Dario Robinson said. “Approximately 9,000 general student parking, 1,400 residential student parking, 1,700 faculty/staff parking and the remainder are all dedicated to such things as ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act], state vehicles, visitor, electric cars, etc.” 

Lead Public Safety Officer Warren Owusu directing traffic on a Friday morning to help relieve back-up from the I-10 off-ramp to Kellogg Drive.
(Kelcie Hartley | The Poly Post)

Despite these numbers, there are not enough parking spaces to meet the growing demands of the over 26,000 students attending CPP. Many students are often late to class because of these issues. 

Rand Uniack, third-year business student, was late to class due to parking. “So far [I’ve been late] every day,” Uniack said. “It’s pretty bad. I have to leave way earlier than I used to. Parking has always been bad, but now it seems a lot worse.” 

Students usually see campus police around the parking lots and streets of CPP, but may not be aware of how they handle parking problems.

“We focus on vehicular and pedestrian safety,” Chief Robinson said. 

Campus PD often have officers out between the busy hours of 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., directing traffic and counting parking spaces from each lot and structure. 

These spaces are counted to inform campus police how many spaces are still available, which allows them to direct the traffic flow towards open parking. 

A common student complaint is about how officers are blocking off entrances to parking lots. 

Campus PD blocks off the filled lot entrances to help save time for students looking for a parking spot. Parking lots will only be blocked off if they are completely full. 

Chief Robinson advises students to “save time and gas by going directly to available parking rather than circling busy lots. 

UPD Parking and Transportation staff will direct you to available parking.”

If the parking lots are full, parking structures 1 and 2 are the best options for parking because parking structure 1 contains over 2,200 parking spaces and parking structure 2 has over 1,600 parking spaces. 

Due to the parking congestion and higher than average number of newly admitted students at CPP, there is a new temporary parking lot located on Corporate Center Drive and is operational Monday through Thursday with approximately 360 parking spaces for students. 

Parking structure 1 is the first go-to parking for students, which leaves it more than halfway full in the morning.
(Kelcie Hartley| The Poly Post)

The long distance from the new parking lot to campus is too far of a walk for students, so there is a dedicated shuttle service, the E Shuttle, available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. that connects to the Student Services Building.

According to, the worst times to travel on campus are Monday through Thursday between 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

These traffic hours aren’t just for students. Faculty and staff are affected by parking troubles as well. 

Mariano Baez, adjunct faculty member in the economics department, noticed how parking has affected the students in his classes. 

“Sometimes students show up 30-40 minutes [late] during class because it took them an hour to find parking,” Baez said. “It can be somewhat disruptive to class. There can be a few students who come in late, but they are very respectful about it.”

Nicole Garabedian, first-year nutrition student, believes parking can add stress to students because of the possible repercussions of tardiness in their classes. 

“I feel some professors aren’t lenient about being late to class,” Garabedian said. “That will affect studies and grades going down just because students couldn’t find parking.” 

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