Parking is a B****!
The parking situation at SMC never seems to be under control. Trying to park a car in any of SMC's structures on the first day of the Fall Semester felt more like trying to park in any of 3rd Street Promenade's structures on Black Friday. And even still, in mid October, the parking ordeal is trying to park at the mall during the holiday shopping season. The difference is that instead of parking at the mall to spend money, we're parking at school, where we have already spent $85 just to be able to park.
The pretty new digital parking space counters, visible to anyone driving along Pico Boulevard, provide what some might call ‘false hope,' while I liken it to an oasis: an illusion of something so attractive, but in the end, something that is not really there. On my first day of school, I spent an hour and a half trying to find parking, arriving on campus forty-five minutes early, but walking into class forty-five minutes late. My first thought, which is probably shared by countless other students that fight everyday for parking spots, is that the school had sold more parking decals than there are parking spots. Marie Fisher, in the Bursar's Office, confirmed this suspicion but pointed out a number of factors that would lessen the hardship that all students endure when it's time to go back to school.
The line in front of the Bursar's Office, primarily to buy the parking decal, for the first few days of every new semester is usually pretty overwhelming. The long line, on top of the heat and confusion of the start of a new Fall Semester, is something that no sane person would willingly like to be a part of. I hate to make anyone feel like they've wasted their time, but I'm going to: The parking decals have been on sale at the Bursar's Office since July 6th, when, at very worse, all six people that bought parking decals, were in line at the same time. During the first 40 days of parking decal sales at the Bursar's Office, 1238 decals were sold. During the first 7 days of the semester, 1307 decals were sold. I know that most students aren't going to spend one of their cherished summer days coming to school to spend $85 dollars on a parking sticker, either because they'd rather spend the $85 on other things during the summer, or they haven't signed up for classes on Main Campus, or because the idea of being at school when they don't have to, is just too nauseating to handle.
There are a couple of different ways to look at the parking sticker. If you are taking 12 units and have 4 classes that require you to be on campus 4 days a week, $85 is nothing compared to the time you will waste trying to find metered parking, scrounging for change and walking to campus, if you're not lucky enough to park on Pearl Street. Trying to park a car in any of SMC's structures on the first day of the Fall Semester felt more like trying to park in any of 3rd Street Promenade's structures on Black Friday. But as students make changes to their schedules (ie. withdraw, get dropped, or change the times of their classes) trying to find parking becomes it is easier as the semester gets further along. In order to avoid the parking situation on Main Campus entirely, students can opt to take classes at the Bundy Satellite Campus, Academy of Arts and Entertainment & Technology, which also offer free parking, as well as the Performing Arts Campus on 11th street and Santa Monica, and the Airport Arts Campus. All of SMC's Satellite Campuses not only offer free parking, but also a free shuttle that takes students to and from the Main Campus.
So if spending a half an hour trying to find parking or paying $85 dollars for a sticker doesn't sound very appealing, next semester, be sure to look at all the alternatives and options.