SRJC students still struggle with parking

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Radley/Oak Leaf

The property at 1700 Mendocino Ave. is the future site of 45 new parking spaces for SRJC students, who regularly complain about overcrowded lots.

Claudia Aceves, Staff Writer

Even after the addition of 1,081 parking spaces in the four-level Zumwalt Parking Pavilion built in 2006, parking remains a struggle for many Santa Rosa Junior College students, especially at the start of each semester.

“The beginning of the semester sucks,” said SRJC student Alex Killinger. She has dealt with parking at SRJC for three years now and was nearly 30 minutes late to class on the first day of school this year.

“It didn’t seem like it was quite as bad before as it is this year,” Killinger said. She has, however, noticed more available parking within the last two weeks.

In his two years of parking at the college, Sebastian (no last name given) learned to arrive on campus nearly an hour and a half prior to his first class to avoid being late. He keeps a pillow in his car to nap or study before heading to class in case he finds a parking spot with time to spare.

“I find that between 8 and 9:30 a.m. there is some basement parking [in the garage],” Sebastian said.

While a regular parking pass costs students $60 without the Board of Governor’s fee waiver of $30 and ASP membership discount of $15, the SRJC website also offers pre-registered carpool passes, which cost students $25 per person each semester for a two-person carpool and $15 each for a three-person carpool.

Nick Hughes and Ben Hough from Forestville purchased a carpool-parking pass for their commute.

“We planned it out and got the carpool parking pass so we get a guaranteed spot,” Hughes said.

The carpool pass gives access to the designated Quinn parking lot located south of Bailey Field near the Zumwalt garage. However, it is the only lot with designated carpool spaces.

“The nice thing about the regular pass is that you can move to any lot, and with the carpool pass you have to stay there,” Hough said.

Dalton Hooten from Napa and Joshua Bricker from Santa Rosa gave up securing a spot on campus; instead they park on neighboring streets despite the risk of receiving parking tickets by the Santa Rosa Police Department.

“I’m not going to pay $60 for a parking pass for parking that isn’t always available,” Bricker said.

Hooten is accustomed to walking to campus from as far as two to eight blocks away. “I never bought a pass because I thought I would park in the street,” he said, “but it’s such a far walk I can see how it’s worth the pass.”

However, for students like Jessica Granados who parks nearest to her class in the Bech lot, parking isn’t always a nightmare. “Mornings used to be really bad but I haven’t had any trouble finding a spot,” Granados said. “So far, so good.”

This year, SRJC purchased the property located at 1700 and 1710 Mendocino Ave. for $1 million to create 45 additional student parking spaces.

Depending on the weather, the parking lot should become active for student use in late spring 2015, said Tony Ichsan, dean of facilities planning and operations.