Construction complicates parking

When students at the University of San Diego returned to school after winter break, they were surprised to find much of the west side of campus under construction. While some students welcomed the proposed changes, it’s hard to deny that the construction has served as an inconvenience for students frequenting that part of campus. Among those especially annoyed are students having a hard time finding parking and running late to class due to the increased traffic along the routes surrounding the construction.

With all of Marian Way being closed off, 50 to 60 parking spaces are being eliminated. To pick up this slack, other parking spots on campus are already in higher demand, and students have to plan ahead to ensure they make it to class on time.

Recently, signs have been spotted in the Missions Parking Structure that denote the structure is full. The signs advise students and visitors to park in the West Lot. However, for students who have class on the east side of campus, the West Lot is all the way on the opposite end of campus. Plus, more students are already using that lot because the construction took away parking spaces on that side of campus. Additionally, students normally have to take the tram from the West Lot, since it is at the bottom of the hill, meaning they have to allot even more time to waiting for the trams. When you combine all of these factors, it practically guarantees that people who are redirected from the Missions Structure to the West Lot will be late to wherever they need to go.

Students also have to compete with visitors for parking spots, since there are no designated spots for visitors. This can be especially problematic when the university hosts events that draw in large numbers of people, like conferences or lectures.

Some students question why the school makes parking so difficult, especially given that parkinig permits cost between $125 and $290 per year.

Senior Lauren Abou-Assi noted that the lack of parking due to construction is not only inconvenient, but it can also be unsafe.

“I always knew USD was good at wasting money, but they’ve really outdone themselves with this new and unnecessary addition,” Abou-Assi said. “[The new construction] is a waste of money and something no one asked for. It reduces parking on campus, something that is already limited, and also creates a security risk. I am in the library extremely late, especially during finals and the last thing I want to do is a) call [Public Safety] and wait for them to bring me down the hill or b) have to worry about walking down to the West Lot late at night, an area that anyone can come and go through. I don’t feel safe walking down there and think this addition was not well thought out.”

With the parking demand at an all-time high, the university might consider implementing solutions to make the process less of a nightmare. One solution is making sure there are enough trams circulating campus to keep up with the demand for students having to park further and further away from their destination. Looping trams to and from Mission Beach would also lessen the number of cars trying to park on campus.

Other options include opening up more residential parking to commuter students during daylight hours, or limiting the number of reserved spaces around campus. However, unless more parking opens up, parking on campus is only going to continue getting worse.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor