NEWSFLASH: Parking at SMC is Still a Hassle

Going into the Santa Monica College parking lot, I am reminded a little of Disneyland: waiting in line for over an hour, just to sit in a car that shakes over every bump. I'm definitely not at the happiest place on earth.

There is enough stress that comes with the territory of being a college student. Parking should not be one of the leading factors, but for some reason, at SMC it is. Students have come up with various plans to get around dealing with the traffic in the structures. Many sign up for 8 a.m. classes and are in the lot as early as 7 a.m. to secure a parking spot. Some have gotten environmentally friendly and have given up driving a car altogether, taking the bus or riding a bike instead.

One of the biggest improvements was the idea of parking on a satellite campus such as Bundy or AET, and taking the shuttle over to the main campus, or so they thought. Now those lots have been filling up just as quickly as the main campus, where the only feasible difference with parking over there is the sunny, open lots.

All through the summer, SMC promoted the "Any Line, Any Time" program, where students and employees with an SMC ID can ride the Big Blue Bus anytime, for free. The school had high hopes for this plan, but anyone entering the main campus parking lot at 9:30 a.m. can attest that it has not made any difference since the previous semester.

One of SMC's biggest problems is the ease in which they give out parking permits. Anyone who wants can just go over to the Bursar's office or sign in online and buy herself a parking permit. Something needs to be done about this. Students who live within a certain mile radius of the school, especially in walking distance, should not be allowed to simply purchase a parking permit. And if these students do receive permits, they should be forced to carpool.

Carpooling has many benefits, the number one gain being more spots freed up for others to park in. Another advantage would be saving gas money. With gas prices so high these days, why does every individual need to drive her own personal SUV into the same place?

The shuttle and bus systems have the disadvantages of running late, and being on their own schedule, not yours. This makes it difficult for students to rely on, and even though the opportunity is there (and free), most students still wish to ignore it. I personally arrive in the lot at 7:30 a.m. , circle around and around for 15 minutes, park on the roof level, and still have to rush to my 8 a.m. class. I end my last class at 12:30 p.m., eat an entire meal (a sandwich, carrots, an apple and water) in my car before I even exit the lot because it takes that long for cars to move, and must be at work by 1 p.m. Due to my commitments, it is impossible for me to park at another campus and take the shuttle over, or just ride my bike to campus. At times I feel as if I spend more time in the parking lot than any class. As a student who has no choice but to park in the main lot, there is nothing I hate more in my day.