Parking on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus has caused many difficulties for students and there have been too few solutions to solve it. Now students are asking the age-old question: what next?
According to Curriculum Technician Adrienne Leihy, the answer can be condensed into two solutions: on campus housing and extended lecture hours.
Leihy graduated from SRJC in 2006 and transferred the same semester the Zumwalt parking structure was finished.
“I still had friends at the JC and when I had asked them if parking had gotten better, they said it had gotten worse. I was shocked because what was supposed to be the silver bullet for the parking problem was actually worse,” Leihy said.
Even before Leihy attended SRJC, parking was a problem for the vast majority of students on campus.
In 1974, the Oak Leaf staff reported only 1,400 total parking spots on campus, in which 3,100 students bought stickers for morning classes and 1,300 students for night classes.
However, SRJC stated in a document from 1975 that the overselling of parking stickers was to compensate for student driving situations and to prevent parking in the nearby neighborhoods.
Katherine Ebbitt, an SRJC alumnus and neighbor to the campus, complained that this did not solve the problem.
“[Adding more parking] will swamp over the neighborhood. If the neighborhood becomes surrounded by a moat of parking it becomes less of a neighborhood and more of a SRJC village,” Ebbitt said.
Additionally, with more passes sold than spaces, students spend more and more time searching for parking.
SRJC electrical engineering major, Andrew Burke, 18, once waited an hour and a half to find parking.
“My first day of school I was driving for what seemed like forever to find a spot for my 9 a.m. class,” Burke said. “But now I just arrive 5 minutes before my class starts because that’s when most people start leaving.”
Math major Brenda Maldondo, 20, even missed her class trying to find parking.
“I got to school at 9:15 a.m. for my 10:30 a.m. class and I drove through the parking garage, which is normally the last place I check for parking, and still missed my class,” Maldondo said.
With so many classes offered during the day–most on Monday and Wednesday–students who take morning classes are at a parking disadvantage..
Several California Community Colleges (CCC) have adopted housing for students.
Of the 112 CCC’s, only 11 offer on-campus student housing, SRJC excluded.
Yet in 2005-2006 SRJC did offer on-campus housing. Kent Hall provided housing to 72 students before it was replaced by Analy Village.
However, instead of investing in yet another parking garage or adding on-campus housing, balancing the schedule would improve the parking bottleneck on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
Instead of clumping a variety of courses into one time frame, adding more evening classes will alleviate the stress students experience on a day-to-day basis while trying to find parking.
Or dispersing classes evenly across five days, rather than four, could also help solve the parking situation on the Santa Rosa campus.
SRJC has exhausted all options to keep the parking infastructure the same as its been for years, but now is the time to completely reinvent the parking system.
“You feel entitled to a parking spot because you’re paying for it, and that’s exactly what students were saying 30 years ago, it needs to change,” said Leihy.