Crash Course in Parking Counter Signs

For students parking at the Santa Monica College main campus on Pico Boulevard it is a hassle every day, entering the parking lot driving around for lengthy amounts of time looking for a parking space while time and gas is wasted.

With the installation of parking space counter signs, that stress is relieved slightly. Installed last week, the parking space counter signs were planned in advanced and not a spur of the moment installation because of all the student complaints. "The college had planned some time ago to start installing counter signs at major parking areas," said Gregory Brown, SMC manager of facilities. "This is the first on the main campus and was installed as part of a larger project to improve the look of the college on Pico Boulevard."

When asked how these parking counter signs work and if they include sensors, Brown stated, "The system counts each car as it enters or leaves each entry and exit point of each individual structure. We don't have sensors at each individual parking space.

These counter signs only count the student parking spaces and not the staff and disabled spaces which mean the signs have a certain formula to account for those differences in the total count. As to where the idea came from, it might possibly have come from all the malls and shopping centers that have made the parking space counter signs popular. "We received suggestions from many faculty and staff members who had seen parking counters at work in other parking facilities," said Brown. "This should give our students some assistance in finding available parking and hope it will be of help to our students."

"I have been wasting expensive gas money driving around for a space, it better save me some money," said student Karina Hernandez.

Since the parking hassle at the main campus began, there have been different programs established for SMC students such as the "Any Line, Any Time" Big Blue Bus program sponsored by SMC and the Associated Students and the "park and ride" where students can park at any of the satellite campuses and catch a shuttle or Blue Bus to take them to the main campus. Both these programs are free to students.

The parking space counter signs are working in proper order now, but Brown stated they still have to do "some fine tuning" to make sure the parking space system has accurate counts.

"Let's hope these signs work, I have to wait so long in my car and I am always late for my class," said SMC student Isis Aguilare.

Time will tell whether these parking space counter signs will be a blessing and a success or a hassle and a burden.