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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Campus parking hassles students

As the new semester returns in full swing, many students may run into a familiar problem— Where can I park my car hassle-free?

Finding low cost parking in close proximity to classes is a typical problem among college campuses and surely applies to Chico State. However, the university works hard to simplify vehicle transportation for students as much as possible, as shown in the 2009 Transportation Demand Management Plan, according to Joe Wills, Director of Public Affairs & Publications.

“Parking concerns here, like most campuses, are long-standing and complex. The bottom line is that this study and the follow-up to it has informed our parking plans,” Wills said.

The 71-page-long TDM Plan was crucial in the construction of the multi-story University Police parking structure that was built in 2012. However, the plan states in its executive summary that, “even with the construction of a new parking structure, CSU, Chico will still have one of the lowest parking ratios in the CSU system compared to other residential campuses.”

Thus, the sole mission of the plan is to promote alternative forms of transportation as, “convenient, safe and practical means for campus trips.”

Alternative transportation is an integrated aspect of Chico State’s campus culture as administration and officials have advertised the advantages of ditching vehicles over the years.

Lieutenant Corinne Beck of the University Police praises the university’s efforts to encourage students and faculty to explore other transportation options.

“I know the campus has done a great job with talking about alternative transportation and trying to encourage if you can skateboard to work, skateboard. If you can ride a bike to work, if you can walk or take the city bus, do so,” she said.

Many students have decided to leave their vehicles in the driveway and adopt a more active means of transportation to avoid the costly and stressful ways of vehicle transportation.

Parking availability on campus is extremely limited and difficult to find due to the demand of more than 18,000 students, faculty and staff members. There are five categories of parking permits, ranging from $22 for motorcycles to $197 for reserved parking.

Reserved parking, the most expensive and sought out permit, guarantees permit holders a spot every day. However, there are only 489 available spots.

The availability-demand gap creates highly competitive sales at the open of each semester, according to Anna Magana, Student Financial Services Director.

“In the situation of student reserved parking permits, we can only explain that often comes down to who starts right at 9 a.m., has faster internet and can type faster,” she said.

Those who aren’t quick enough to claim a reserved permit can choose a general permit, priced at $121. However, the SFS sells more of these permits than actual available spots. Students who choose the cheaper route still have a chance at finding a spot, given that they plan ahead and show up early, she said.

“Often times students don’t realize there are several campus parking lots available to them where general permits are valid,” Magana said. “Some lots require more of a walk, but are sometimes easier to find parking in. We encourage them to review the campus parking maps.”

A main reason students choose to endure the competitions for reserved permits and daily general parking resonates with campus safety. Plenty of students have on-campus priorities that require them to stay on campus as late as midnight.

Samantha Tomlinson, sophomore communication design major with an emphasis in media arts, decided to get a general permit this semester so she can safely attend her Monday evening class from 7-9:50 p.m.

Samantha Tomlinson, sophomore communication design major, purchased a general parking permit due to safety concerns with walking home after a night class. Photo Courtesy of Samantha Tomlinson.

“I live in the Craig apartments and I couldn’t walk there at night,” she said. “That’s terrifying.”

Students who share Tomlinson’s concerns for safety can consider using the Campus Connection Safety Shuttle Service provided by the University Police. It is a free shuttle service that gives students an alternative to walking on campus at night. The service is useful to students who live in University Housing or near Campus Connection stops.

Despite the obstacles a residential campus poses on transportation for its students and faculty, Chico State continues to improve parking and offer alternative ways to commute safely to campus. For more information on bike and pedestrian safety, visit the University Police website.

“There’s a lot of folks that go to the library at night and we want to definitely support those students,” Beck said.

Cheyanne Burens can be reached at [email protected] or @cheybrizzle on Twitter.


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