Parking is bad, but it could be worse

Janice Sobrepena Domingo,

With fall quarter coming up and a new batch of freshmen coming in, the hunt for parking spots may resemble a scene out of “Game of Thrones;’” Cutthroat, suspenseful, and full of drama.

Most students who drive to campus have been guilty of one of these two things at some point: attempting to show up early to find parking spots close to class or getting to school five minutes before class starts, praying to the ‘parking gods’ for any kind of vacant spot.

According to Derrick Lobo, Manager of Parking & Transportation Services at Cal State East Bay, there are 4,203 parking spots open for students. However, we often end up circling the lots for around 20 minutes hoping to find one of them.

Many of us pay the $130 every quarter for a parking permit. Shockingly enough, those permits are not limited to students either; faculty and staff are required to purchase passes as well if they intend to park in any of the lots, although at a discounted rate per quarter. According to Lobo, nine month faculty members pay $9.89 per month while 12 month faculty members pay $13.19 per month.

One would think that if parking permits are that easily attained, parking spaces would be ample in order to accommodate students; however, it always feels like there is not enough parking. According to Lobo, parking availability boils down to something as simple as timing.

From a cost perspective, Cal State East Bay actually has fairly-priced permits compared to other Bay Area college campuses. According to the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation site, student parking permits cost $377 for fall and spring semesters and $308 for summer; which equates to $1,062 annually.

The San Francisco State University Parking and Transportation site indicates that they only offer daily student parking permits that can either be purchased in hourly increments at $4 per hour or $7 per day. Assuming you are a full-time student attending a full day’s worth of classes five days a week, for a 16-week semester, that would equate to $560 per semester or $1,120 annually, not including summer. Only students with campus residency can purchase semester permits.

Here at East Bay it is a flat $130 per quarter or $540 per year, including summer. East Bay also offers daily permits at $2 per hour and $10 for the entire day as well as metered parking spots also at $2 per hour.

Unfortunately, there are no current plans for a parking structure of any sort at East Bay, but there are plans to repair and update lots J, L and M within the next school year, according to Lobo. The overflow lot will be renovated as well. Plans include sloping of the area to avoid drainage issues that cause it to close whenever it rains, as well as the addition of gravel. These changes in particular should allow it to be open year round. Its current state forces it to be closed during the rainy season, since the unpaved dirt lot gets muddy. The plan is to have it ready by the start of the fall quarter on Sept. 20, according to Lobo.

There are hits and misses with parking, and yes, it may seem like we pay a lot for parking per quarter, but it really could be a lot worse.