Opinion: The problem with parking

There’s plenty of parking in Staff lot 7 (H. Margaret Slye)

Jon Shoemake

As students of Saddleback College, we enjoy the opportunities presented to us at this fine institution. A friendly student body, helpful teachers and well-organized extracurricular activities are among the many perks of being a gaucho. But as Bret Michaels told the world in 1988, “every rose has its thorn,” and Saddleback’s “thorn” is parking.

Why is it so hard to find a parking space? Are there too many students? Are there not enough parking spaces? Why did I buy this parking permit? These are the questions that Saddleback students are asking themselves when sitting in a line of cars practically stretched out to Avery parkway.

According to the College Board and Saddleback’s faculty website, Saddleback is a medium sized college with over 26,000 under-grads and 571 faculty members. According to Andrew Craven, parking director, there are 3507 designated student spaces, 696 staff spaces, 116 disabled spaces, and 51 metered daily parking spaces, making a total of 4370 parking spaces. This means that there are 7 students for every designated student parking space and 1.2 spaces for each designated staff member.

For those 3507 spaces, the school has issued an undisclosed amount of permits. Without any reliable data, let us try to make a rational hypothetical plan. Say for instance one-fourth of the students who attend Saddleback actually plan to use the parking facilities, while the other three-fourths of the body either walk, take public transportation or carpool. One quarter of our student body is approximately 6500 hundred students. In this hypothetical plan, the amount of students looking for spaces is still nearly double the total amount of spaces on campus.

“I don’t understand why they don’t build another level or something,” Javier Q, 20, business said.

Given the data, there is a real parking issue at Saddleback. While ideas like building a parking garage over lot nine do seem like a simple solution, It becomes much more complicated when one takes into consideration the reality of what the costs of such a job would be. According to the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, the price of each parking space skyrockets about 5 times the original cost when upgrading a surface lot to a raised structure.

Still, given the fact that the school charges students for parking, one would think this would be an excellent allocation of school funding.

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