Parking Woes Trouble Students

Your morning routine is planned out perfectly.  You leave your house nearly two hours early, saving enough time to be stuck in the morning traffic and to enjoy the leisurely hour wait in the Santa Monica College parking lot for a parking spot. 

Ten weeks into the semester and there is no difference in our parking situation.  If you enter the lot between 7:40 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., you know you are going to have to wait before you find a spot. However, people still seem to complain about the tedious wait.

Rather than shouting at the idiot who thought it was okay to take up two spots, become proactive about the parking problem and create a solution.  This in no means allows you to key the person's car, however feel free to give it a little love tap.

The school is selling parking passes at $85 a piece during the fall and spring semester.  As poor college students, we feel as if it is ok to shell out the money if, at the very least, we are getting a parking spot.  However, when you read the fine print on the pass, you realize this only allows you to park in the lot; it does not assure you a spot.   

Though this is the case, students can still buy a pass in hopes that after waiting long enough, they will be able to park in one of the few spaces.  There are only two options here: students stage a protest and stop buying the passes or the school halts the number of passes distributed.

Considering the difficulty in constructing an effective protest, it would be more effective for the school to put a cap on the number of parking passes sold.  The school would take the time to calculate the average number of students parking on campus per day and sell only that many passes.  This would still result in some waiting and fewer owners of the pass but at least you are assured a spot in the lot. 

The dream solution would be building a new lot. Yes it would be lovely if the school built their students a grandiose parking structure that had an accurate assumption of how many spots are available in the structure, however this simply will not happen.  The solution sounds easy yet so many factors prevent it from happening.

 The location of the structure would require demolition of a building that probably wouldn't be accessible in the near future. Prior to building any structure, a bond would need to be passed to receive money for the project and taxpayers are not always very pleasant when more money is taken away from them.  

The somewhat good news is that the current construction on Pico and 16th will have a parking structure that holds an additional 300 spots, yet only about half of spaces will be allowed for students use. 

Simply spoken, there is no easy and effective solution to the parking problem; however revamping the current parking pass distribution could be quite effective.

For one, students who carpool should receive priority over purchasing a parking pass.  Two students purchase one pass together and are allowed to alternate days of driving.  The pass would be registered under two cars but can only be used on one car.  This would then alleviate the number of cars in the lot and create an incentive to car pool.

In addition to the current chaos called the Main Campus parking, the transportation department has tried to lessen the severity of the issue by providing shuttles to take students from one campus to the other.  Students wise enough to park at these campuses receive the benefit of both free parking and transportation to the main campus.  

To further explain, these satellite campuses offer free parking with a pass that you may sign up for online.  If more students took advantage of this, the school would not sell as many permits and students could save the $85 for their textbook.

As unfortunate as it may seem, a hierarchy of who should receive permits should be in place.  If you are a full time employee and attend school, a permit should be given to you since you are hustling back and forth and don't have time for buses.  

In the same sense, full time students should receive priority over part time students.  In a sense, those who do not have to be here for longer than six hours a week should not benefit from a pass that they do not need. There are plenty of meters on the street and buses to take these students to school and home.

All in all, the parking problem will always be an issue, but can be improved.  The only effective way of solving the problem would be to change the current method of parking passes. In the mean time, just leave mean notes in people's car reminding them that they should really learn how to park between the two inner lines and not the two outer lines