Ryan Chartrand

Parking at Cal Poly causes headaches for groaning students and staff alike, but the situation isn’t as bad as it may seem, University Police Department officials say.

“It’s all in perspective,” UPD business services coordinator Marlene Cramer said.

“The parking situation is better today than when I started in 2000. Parking is available – the issue is that it’s just not always close and convenient.”

A total of 4,253 permits had been sold this quarter as of Tuesday, according to UPD. While the data is still in flux, making it difficult for conclusions to be drawn, Cramer said it seems as if the sales total will fall well below the amounts from winter quarters in 2005 and 2006, when more than 4,800 permits were sold each term.

Cal Poly sold 9,458 total parking permits during the fall 2004 quarter, when there were 6,857 total parking spots on campus, according to UPD statistics. That ratio of 1.4 permits for every spot is greater than the same ratio from the fall 2007 quarter, when 1.2 total permits were sold for every spot.

Fewer quarterly permits were sold in all four quarters from 2005 to 2007, with the smallest difference being a three-percent decrease in the spring quarters, the largest being a 14.4-percent drop in the summer quarters.

“There has been a decline in sales (overall),” Cramer said. “We push alternative transportation.”

Although Cal Poly oversells non-resident permits, its oversell rate pales in comparison to many other schools, Cramer said. Exemplifying a more “horrendous” outlook, she said, are UCLA, where freshmen aren’t even allowed to park, and several prominent East Coast schools that have made “very common” use of the freshmen-prohibiting practice.

“We have considered it and almost implemented it several years ago,” Cramer said.

San Jose State, Cramer added, provides about 3,000 spots for roughly 30,000 students.

The school has to oversell permits to make the most of its resources, Cramer explained.

“A general student is not going to be in a space all day long,” she said. “They may come in at noon and be here until 5 (p.m.), or may come in for a 7 (a.m.) class and leave at 9 (a.m.). To make the most use of our space we have to oversell. It’s very common.”

In spite of how much more crammed other campuses may be, it seems most Cal Poly parkers are frustrated with the availability of spots.

“It’s bad,” said mechanical engineering sophomore Tyler Sears, who’s been parking on campus for two quarters. “If you come at noon, it’s pretty much impossible.”

Mathematics sophomore Josh Pollitz said the congestion even made him 15 minutes late to a class in the second week of the quarter.

“I’d say so far (this quarter) it’s a little worse,” Pollitz said. “I’ll be in line 15 or 20 minutes sometimes.”

While some students continue to hold out during peak hours for spots closer to the campus’ core buildings, some don’t even bother taking the risk of being late to class or tolerating the inconvenience of having to arrive with ample time to spare.

“Parking is really bad unless you know secret spots,” said teaching credential candidate Ashley Warmuth, who says she parks off campus and usually walks 15 to 20 minutes to get to Cal Poly.

Routinely parking in more remote lots on campus in order to not waste time is also an alternative some students and staff take advantage of.

“I have to walk farther, but I go to the (lot near the) baseball field – that way I don’t just drive around,” architectural engineering professor Brent Nuttall said.

Exasperated students and staff should consider parking at more accommodating lots, Cramer said.

“Because of the master plan, it’s pushing us all outside of the core of campus,” she explained. “Honestly, it’s a patch of the future. There will be very little parking in the core of campus in a couple years. But if you go out to Mt. Bishop, there are 200 or 300 empty spots.”

Adding to a seeming current crunch, Cramer added, could be a typical upswing usually noticed early in winter quarters.

“A lot of times people aren’t given grades yet, and parents want to see grades; then (the students) are given cars for Christmas sometimes. We’ll come back after Christmas and sell 60 resident permits for winter quarter right away,” Cramer said.

To alleviate the delays and avoid overcrowded lots, Cramer advised students to consider all transportation methods, including riding the bus and bicycling.

“We hope everyone uses all options given to them for transportation,” she said. “It can be good for the environment and your pocketbook, and eases the parking frustration that students incur.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *