Students may find parking more tedious than usual this semester due to the closure of temporary parking lot 11, located at C and 16th streets, which parking officials acknowledge is a loss of 171 parking spaces.
“We expect it to be hectic in the beginning. Construction workers and downtown workers take up a lot of the street parking,” a City College Police lieutenant said. “You have to understand our geographical situation. We have a high school and downtown. It’s difficult, but things will get better it just takes time.”
Construction on lot 11, which was never meant to be a permanent parking site, has already begun and is estimated for completion within 12-18 months. When finished, the site will house new cosmetology, photography, nursing and police facilities as well as a parking structure designed to hold 750 cars.
The new parking spaces will bring much needed relief to a campus that currently provides 656 stalls for student parking while selling an average of 3,500 City College parking permits per semester. Under those conditions, even those who pay for permits sometimes find themselves parking on the street.
“We have a grace period till Sept. 8 for free parking. Students can give themselves that time to decide if they want to buy a permit,” the lieutenant said. “Most of our students are responsible adults and understand that permit parking is not guaranteed.”
Students have come up with their own methods for dealing with the parking crunch at City College.
Viviana Hernandez, liberal arts major, comes to school an hour early in order to get to class on time. English major Gigi Burnett has followed people to their cars when in a pinch, while Brooke Bower, a nursing major, schedules early morning classes to avoid the rush.
“After 10 or 10:30, it’s impossible to park, but at 7:30 there’s no problem,” Bower said.
All three students acknowledge that the overcrowding at City College is not exceptional.
“It’s horrible, what can you say? But it’s the same everywhere,” Hernandez said.
“Carpooling would really help,” Burnett added as she pointed out a single-occupant car that had just pulled into the parking lot. “Almost all the cars are occupied by only one person, so that’s an issue.”
While there is parking reserved for carpoolers at Mesa College, City College has not adopted the system and is not likely to anytime soon.
“We have thought about it and we have carpooling at one campus, but we haven’t done it at City just because of a severe parking shortage,” said district parking program supervisor Debra Picou, who went on to explain that the educational code requires that student carpoolers have at least three people in a car to qualify for reserved parking. “We don’t want to see empty parking spaces. At Mesa, we have carpool spaces that sit empty.”
Until construction of the new parking structure is complete, officials urge students to search for parking at Inspiration Point, a large lot on Park Avenue that, though farther away, is usually less crowded than on campus lots. There is a free shuttle from the campus to the parking lot for people who are concerned about the distance.
“Ideally, students should go to the outskirts like Inspiration Point first to find parking. They all want to park close and it’s impossible cause everyone wants the same thing and it’s juts not gonna happen,” the City College Police lieutenant said, who also noted that between 12 and 6 p.m., officers don’t issue citations for parking in, what are usually, permit-only lots.