Incoming freshmen living on campus for the 2017-18 academic year will be the first freshman class restricted from bringing vehicles to campus.
“With the recent loss of parking lots to campus construction, Parking Services needed to address a shortage of parking for commuter students,” university spokesperson Matt Lazier said in an email to Mustang News. “This approach was deemed the least impactful, as on-campus freshman residents are already on site for classes.”
According to Lazier, less than 15 percent of current freshmen residents bring cars on campus. However, on-campus parking has been heavily impacted since 1,326 parking spots were closed when construction began on Housing North in 2015. This means that as of the 2016-17 academic year, there are 2,635 general parking spaces, 126 disabled spaces, 164 metered spaces 1,534 staff spaces and 2,160 residential spaces on campus.
With the ever-growing Cal Poly enrollment, commuter students such as aerospace engineering junior Jake Valdez face a daily struggle to find parking. Valdez lives off campus now, but during his freshman year he lived in Poly Canyon Village and had his own car on campus. In spite of the benefits he experienced having a car as a freshman, Valdez said he’s glad that the new policy will be put in place.
“Yeah, it was nice to have a car, but that was before we lost, like, half our parking,” Valdez said. “Now hopefully [it] will free up a few spots and alleviate the pressure a bit.”
Sophomore and transfer students living on campus will still be able to register for the residential parking pass waitlist after housing assignments are given in August, according to the Parking & Commuter Services webpage.
Additionally, eligible students will be able to apply for exemption starting during summer.
“There will be exceptions available for students with health and medical needs or other extenuating circumstances,” Lazier said. “These cases will be reviewed by Parking Services, in consultation with other appropriate campus programs, on a case-by-case basis.”
According to Lazier, prospective and incoming students for the 2017-18 academic year were notified of the new policy throughout the past year’s application and admissions processes.
Parking Services made the decision to restrict freshmen’s vehicles after consulting with Inter Housing Council, University Housing and Associated Students, Inc., as well as examining similar policies on other university campuses, according to Lazier.