Rachel Kennett, a 29-year-old visual arts student, walks to the V building garage, where she and many other students usually find some of the only available parking spots on the campus.
“The MS building is usually pretty full, but the V building’s not that bad,” said Kennett.
According to data from the district’s parking program, City College has 1,158 spaces dedicated to students and 424 for faculty, along with 60 for disabled and 20 spaces for motorcycles and scooters. For the Fall 2014 semester, a total of 4,036 vehicle permits were purchased, making City’s permit to space ratio of 3.8: 1.
“We do (for peak hours) take a look at the cars that are parked in Balboa Park, and we take a look to see if there are permits on them, and we also take a look at our parking lots on campus – not just at City College, but at all the campuses,” explains Debra Picou, the parking program supervisor for SDCCD.
“During the first month of school, it is pretty impacted for the first few weeks,” Picou said.
One of the main contributors to the first few weeks’ overwhelming demand for parking space, according to Picou, are the course crashers that don’t get in afterwards.
Surprisingly though, according to Picou, “we did not fill up the V building parking structure after the first couple of weeks. The 8th, 9th, 10th floors, sometimes the 7th and 6th floors, always had spaces in them. Some people parked on those higher levels sometimes to be closer to the elevators.”
Even after the first month, however, the transition from morning to noon still sees heavy traffic going both in and out of the campus.
“The closer we get to 10 o’clock, when we know that all the 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. classes are all in session, the people that come for 11 o’clock classes generally have the hardest time finding spaces,” said Picou.
Often times, students and faculty whose first classes are at 11 a.m. generally find themselves circling around the lots waiting for early morning students that are leaving.
“I think the mistake they make sometimes too is when they’re all trying to get there early when really they should wait until 10:45 when those morning classes are leaving,” Picou said.
Typically, Lot 3 and the MS building garage tend to be popular with students which is why, therefore, they’re more often full than the V building garage, and only the athletic department lot has flex parking for City from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Some students that still can’t find parking even after the morning crowd leaves often park in not just the Inspiration Point public lot, but also on the streets of Golden Hill next to campus.
“We do get complaints from the neighbors sometimes about the number of students that are parked on the street, but (the students) are taxpayers as well, so they’re allowed to park there,” said Picou.
While Kennett does often find herself available parking at the V building, she still had some suggestions that were also based on what she heard from classmates.
“I think they need more parking on the other side of the campus,” Kennett explains, “and I’ve heard from other disabled students that handicap parking isn’t readily available either, so I think they should work on that.”