Chico State plans a quick fix for the university’s parking problem


The parking lot across from the Wildcat Recreation Center is full of cars on a Tuesday afternoon. Photo credit: Daelin Wofford

Parking has never been easy for Chico State students, but, thanks to new developments, temporary lots may be coming soon.

The university has slowly been acquiring land after the publication of Chico State’s master plan, which outlines ideas for expansion. This plan calls for the acquisition of the College Park neighborhood which lies between West Sacramento and Warner St.

According to the Director of Facilities Management and Services, Mike Guzzi, there are currently assessments underway to turn the land on Warner St. into temporary parking lots.

“Over the next month or two we will evaluate the feasibility of new or temporary lots until a long term building is planned,” Guzzi said.

Eventually the lots will be used for student housing or a new academic building.

Parking continues to be a hot topic among students as many complain about the lack of spaces. Photo credit: Daelin Wofford

As of September 2018, 2,094 parking passes have been sold at $121 each. These passes allow for unlimited parking in any of the 1,086 G parking spots from one of nine parking lots owned by the university.

Additionally, the university introduced Passport Parking last year, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to purchase parking by the hour.

“We, as a university, have promised to limit our scope 3 emissions, or emissions that come from transportation,” Guzzi said. “We do however know a lot of people need to park.”

Mark Stemen, a professor of geography and planning, has strongly opposed building new parking structures, citing the toll it would take on the university’s emissions output.

In 2011, when the school proposed to build an additional parking structure on the corner of Chestnut and 2nd St., Stemen argued it would be wiser to use the money on expanding bike and bus options for students.

Despite being voted down by the Associated Students body, the structure was built to mitigate the influx of students.

According to an open letter drafted by Stemen and his students, over half of the student population lives within a one-mile radius of the campus, and over 80 percent within two miles.

To abate some of the parking congestion, Stemen and his class proposed to limit the sale of parking passes to students living one mile or more from campus, where biking or walking may be more difficult.

Despite being approved by more that 70 percent of the student body, it was never implemented.

“The university didn’t approve it because they feared people wouldn’t come if they couldn’t bring a car,” Stemen said.

While the new lots may benefit students temporarily, the university has no current plans for permanent parking structures or alternative transportation.

“We’ve put up a few five-story Band-Aids,” Stemen said. “We need to change the culture.”

Amelia Storm can be reached at [email protected] or @Amelia_Storm on Twitter.