Op-ed: Parking problems out of control

Let me preface this by saying that I love USD. In my four years here, I have met some great people, taken awesome classes, and simply enjoyed my college experience as a whole. But even the best of the best has its downsides, and USD is not without its flaws. Few things cause me more irritation than the state of parking here at USD.

Let’s start with the obvious: there simply isn’t enough of it. How does it make sense that I pay $280 a year to be able to park on campus and yet finding parking is beyond difficult? Students at Point Loma Nazerene University don’t have to pay for their permits, begging the question of why we have to pay so much.

I spent 35 minutes driving around campus this past week to find a spot. That’s more than double the amount of time it takes me to drive from my house to school. And, call me crazy, but when I have to be in the SLP, I don’t normally feel like parking all the way down in the West Lot. Unfortunately, that is what Parking Services expects us to do when the dreaded “lot full” sign is posted outside the Mission Parking Structure, which let’s be honest, is more often than not recently.

Although parking has almost always been impacted, this semester it seems to have reached an extreme level due to the construction taking place around campus. Approximately 60 spots are gone for good due to the construction project on the west side of campus. Now, those spots alone would be one thing, but let’s not discount the other spots the construction has taken away. The Immaculata lot is now closed because of construction, along with the Hughes lot and bits of the Olin lot. We also can’t forget part of the Law lot, since it’s being reserved so that the construction workers have a place to park.

Don’t worry, La Gran Terraza still has a valet service, which, by the way, takes up valuable spots in the Mission Parking Structure. Those spots that aren’t reserved for the valet are often instead being held for visitors on campus for conferences or events. And while USD doesn’t seem to have a problem accommodating these visitors, students and faculty may end up having to compete for an inadequate amount of spots.

It shouldn’t be this way. Students shouldn’t be late to class because they either had to drive around for a half hour to find parking or park super far away from their classrooms. We shouldn’t have to compete with visitors for precious spots or risk getting a ticket for parking in a reserved or yellow-lined spot. Unless you are a supremely lucky person, this is the reality you face when trying to park on campus within a reasonable distance of your classroom.

It’s out of control, and it needs to be addressed. I never thought I would be in favor of “paving over paradise to put up a parking lot,” but in this instance it might be a necessary evil. Let’s be honest, USD has enough lawns. USD maintains dozens of immaculate lawns across campus and is in the process of adding more. In our effort to increase landscaping on campus, parking spots seem to be getting the axe. USD simply cannot expect to foster growth without providing more parking, it’s just not realistic. Perhaps Parking Services might consider starting to regulate the amount of parking permits sold each year, reimagine resident parking areas, or start paving. When the thought of parking on campus is a daily dread for students, something’s gotta give.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor