PLNU students can now park in faculty parking as of September eighth due to the increase in students with cars this school year.
PLNU’s President Bob Brower has even given up his parking space. His designated space with a nametag is covered up making him face the same struggle as faculty, staff, and students.
At the beginning of the school year, President Brower sent out an email to PLNU undergraduate students regarding the parking situation.
“With this challenge and the university’s desire to minimize neighborhood impact, we are taking the interim steps listed below while longer term solutions are sought. We ask for your help, understanding and suggestions as we work together to address this challenge.”
Before the change, commuter students had designated parking, only in areas with red lines or the city lot that allows parking for only a four hour time slot. Many students turned to parking in the neighborhood and walking up Point Loma’s numerous hills to get to campus.
Last year The Point covered the parking problem explaining that there were 1,489 students who registered cars with 1,279 open parking spaces available including the city lot. Out of the 1,489 registered cars, 763 cars belonged to commuter students and only 251 parking spaces are designated for commuter use according to Tony Papia, public safety assistant.
But the change will now allow students, faculty and staff to park in any orange, purple, or white parking slots on a first-come basis, helping to solve the problem.
The email says the hope was that it would allow everyone to use all parking spaces especially as they become available throughout the day.
PLNU public safety supervisor Kazimir Trypuc said the change, “was to benefit those who drive to campus so they don’t have to worry about which parking spot but just to find a space.”
Trypuc said that PLNU has more people on campus with cars than ever before.
“The issue was that we ran out of spaces,”Trypuc said. “We never had that problem before.”
The email from President Brower said the university is encouraging carpooling and looking at a parking lot off campus and offering a shuttle to take people from that lot to campus.
PLNU is maxed out for parking on campus according to Trypuc, more levels on current parking structures cannot be built because of regulations from the California Coastal Guard that PLNU must follow.
“Where can we build it is the conversation we’re having,” said Trypuc, “A new parking structure could cost millions.”
Parking has now become a current issue for a majority of students and faculty.
Associate professor of Biology Rob Elson said that he has had more trouble parking since the change. Elson typically gets to campus around 8am, which is when campus parking tends to be full.
LeAnne Elizondo, department assistant and building coordinator for Rohr Science recognized that parking has always been an issue on PLNU’s campus.
“I sometimes had trouble finding parking because resident students would drive up the hill instead of taking the shuttle and park in faculty and staff spots, but that problem was nothing like this.”
This year Elizondo has found herself parking even further from the science building.
“It’s frustrating because I have multiple items to carry in usually each day, so I’m trying to carry them across campus (to Rohr science) from the Young hill area and I arrive dripping with sweat.”
But some students know that parking is a problem and plan accordingly.
“You still have to get here before 8am earlier than you ever had to,” said Jenna Hussey, senior media communications major and four year commuter from Lakeside, a part of San Diego County.
Psychology Professor Kim Schaeffer, arrives at PLNU at 6am so he’s not been affected by the parking.
Although Public Safety has spoken to only a few commuter students, Trypuc said that most “[commuter] students have felt largely positive,” about being able to park in faculty spots.
However, he admits that there has been mixed feedback from students and faculty.
“I don’t understand why they got rid of their student cap. We already have a parking problem to begin with,” said Hussey, sharing her frustration over parking. “Most of the professors in my dept. are not happy at all,” agreed Elizondo. “They can’t find spots to park, so they are late to their classes.”
Public safety said that although there are problems with parking, they are looking and working on solutions for fixing the parking situation.