Never have I seen such a challenge drain students, leaving them frustrated, angry, extremely annoyed, and even teary-eyed first thing in the morning as during the parking process. However, each of these students, in order to park on campus, has purchased the $126 student parking permit, even though there is obviously no guarantee of a space, and even a possibility that a student will be forced to park on the streets of the surrounding neighborhoods.
More spaces have been promised in the future, as we eagerly wait for the completion of the B3 parking structure, which, according to the Campus Tram Route Map on CSUN’s website, will create 2,063 parking spaces. The future situation may be improved, but what about the current dilemma? What about now?
I recently found myself staring at a $35 parking citation for parking in a visitor spot in the G4 lot. I was immediately infuriated, even though I willingly parked there after circling a variety of student parking lots in search of a space. Like many CSUN students, I prioritized getting to class on time over the risk of a parking fine. On the citation, the phrase, “permit not valid in visitor’s spaces” caught my attention. I was instructed at the Information Booth on Lindley Avenue that a visitor’s pass costs $4, or may be issued to the visitor for free if special arrangements are made. So, just to clarify, students are fined $35 for a $4 or possibly free space, while still displaying the $126 student parking permit. I am now contesting this citation. I am aware that I was in violation, but at the same time, I feel students should have more priority over parking spaces.
According to the Parking Locations Map on CSUN’s website, the parking structure being built in B3 obviously required that the lot be closed, and thus, a number of student parking spaces were lost.
In the meantime, although CSUN students are promised an easier parking situation once the final parking structure opens, every day, lines of vehicles wait and circle like vultures, wasting time and expensive gas.
The only alternative to this dilemma requires a student to arrive on campus up to an hour and a half early, or has students sneaking into faculty lots or visitor spots, risking being towed and fined just to arrive to class on time.
In my case, and according to an employee at the University Cash Services, this is the case for many CSUN students. However, during my daily parking search, I notice that almost all faculty lots are at least half-empty, and if only students could utilize these parking spots without fear of fine, the parking situation could be slightly improved.
Whether this is a possible solution or not, the students of CSUN contribute their fair share, putting forth money for tuition and the $126 parking permit that funded the building of the two parking structures. It seems wrong for a student who has already purchased a permit to have to spend even $4 on a visitor pass, put money in parking meters, and waste precious gas circling lots. Our education and getting to class on time is important. Professors do not excuse a students tardiness due to the parking situation and students are at risk of lower grades as a result.
There must be another solution. Suggestions, anyone?
Jessica Aulestia is a junior women’s studies major.