Although there are complaints about parking availability, the university doesn’t expect a problem in the future.
Driving into a parking lot only to find no open spaces can be frustrating for any driver.
According to University Police Department (UPD) Associate Director Cindy Campbell, freshmen don’t have to worry about that on campus this year.
After the holidays, there are always a number of freshmen students who decide to bring their car to campus, Campbell said. This increase of cars from fall to winter happens every year, she said.
Parking permit data shows the 2010-2011 school year saw a 24 percent jump in sales from fall to winter. In 2011-2012 there was a 17 percent increase and last year, there was a 72 percent increase.
Despite the spike in permit sales, Campbell was sure freshmen would be able to find open parking spots during winter quarter.
“It is beyond not an issue,” she said.
There was a reason for her assurance.
Currently, resident parking lots R1 and R2 — mostly used by freshmen — can accommodate 36 percent of freshmen cars if the entire class decided to bring them. Only 19 percent of the class brought their cars during the 2013 Fall Quarter, according to UPD data. This leaves room for the cars to come in winter.
The reason for the surplus parking spaces, according to Campbell, is many freshmen are choosing to leave their cars at home. Campbell attributed this to how students are starting to think more about the economic and environmental consequences of having a car before bringing it.
Forestry freshman Julie Ostrowski considered these consequences when deciding to bring her car winter quarter.
“Parking permits are expensive,” Ostrowski said.
The quarterly and annual resident parking permits cost $175 and $525 respectively, according to the Cal Poly website.
Some students, according to Campbell, choose to use alternate forms of transportation instead. That was what Ostrowski did during fall quarter before deciding to bring her car for winter.
“I want to try to, you know, bike as much as I can and get around on foot,” Ostrowski said.
Students did not always weigh these pros and cons.
“That wasn’t a mindset students came with 10, 20 years ago,” Campbell said. “If they had a car, they brought it and it would sit there, not moving, but they had it. People are making different choices now.”
Parking in general was different back then. The Cerro Vista Apartments and Poly Canyon Village (PCV) did not exist. Thus, there wasn’t a need for as many parking spaces. Also, the R1 and R2 parking permits were sold separately as opposed to how they are combined today.
Unlike resident parking permit sales, sales in Poly Canyon Village (PCV) and general parking do not increase as much after the holidays. If it does, the increase is usually small, according to UPD data.
PCV and general parking would have enough spaces to accommodate students during winter quarter as well, Campbell said. This was especially true with PCV, whose parking structures are currently only 36 percent full.