Parking difficulties drive union to call for action

The lower, restricted levels of the parking structure on West Second and Hazel streets is regularly empty throughout the week, as shown last year. Photo credit: Enrique Raymundo

President Paul Zingg has been given a list of demands for reform by the California State University Employees Union, with parking space availability as a primary concern. If demands are granted, 200 additional parking spaces could be made available for the public.

From Monday to Friday, student parking overflows Ivy, Hazel, Chestnut and Legion streets. Those arriving to campus in the early morning hours can park with ease, while others with later classes drive circles searching for an open spot. To avoid hunting for parking, some students look to purchasing parking permits as a solution.

Jessica Verardi, president of the CSU Employees Union, has a general permit and still struggles to find an available parking spot.

“Every day when I come to work, I pass empty parking spaces,” Verardi said. “Sometimes I drive up to the top of that parking structure, and I don’t have a place to park. One day the structure was completely full, and I counted 58 empty parking spots.”

Permits available for purchasing range from general and faculty/staff for $121 per semester, or reserved, which are $197 per semester.

Reserved permits were recently opened for student purchasing during the 2014 fall semester and sold out in seven minutes, said Gina O’Neal, a staff member with Student Financial Services. Additionally, the general permits are oversold and do not guarantee the buyer a parking spot.

“There aren’t enough parking spots for those that need quick day parking,” said Nick Howell, a junior at Chico State. “For someone that needs to drive to school every once in a while, but can’t find parking — it’s difficult. I have to leave at seven in the morning if I want a spot.”

The CSU Employees Union stated in its letter to Zingg: “Folks roaming the parking structures looking for empty spaces create a safety hazard.” The union has also requested that the university convert “a minimum of 200 premium parking spaces to regular parking effective fall semester 2015.”

Junior Adrianna Castellanos drives to campus two days out of the week and notices the many empty reserved parking spaces, she said.

“The reserved spots should be open,” she said. “They’re never filled, and people are late to class because they can’t find parking.”

A follow-up email was sent to acting President Richmond Rollin, Verardi said.

The demands were presented to Zingg on March 18 and requested a response by April 3. However, the union has yet to receive any acknowledgement or response from administration.

Jenice Tupolo can be reached at [email protected] or @JayTupolo on Twitter.