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Commuters struggle to find parking on campus

Parking at PLNU has become more crowded this academic year with 1,489 registered vying for parking in the 1,179 commuter and open spaces the campus offers; other parking spaces including the public lot with 100 spaces and limits parking to four hours.

Of the 1,489 registered vehicles, 763 belong to commuters, and have only 251.5 spots specifically marked for commuter use. All data is provided by Tony Papia, Public Safety assistant.

“It took me 40 minutes to find a parking spot one day,” said Luis Gallardo, a senior studying integrated education. “I looked in Klassen, but didn’t find any open spots.and I don’t like to park in the public lot because I’m afraid of getting ticketed.” Gallardo decided to sit in the commuter lot and wait for a student to leave.

Commuters not only have to wait long for parking, but often have long commutes and must take into account the parking problems when leaving from home.

“It takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to campus from my home depending on the time of day,” said commuter student manager, Seira Ortiz, a senior nutrition major, who has been living off campus in El Cajon since her freshman year at PLNU. Ortiz is in charge of organizing commuter events, working office hours, and being available to talk to commuters about concerns they have.

Commuter students often complain to Ortiz about finding parking on campus.

“At least once a week I have a student complain to me about finding parking,” said Ortiz. At times, students even miss their classes because they can’t find parking. “I didn’t go to class once because I parked too late, so I parked and waited for my next class,” said Ortiz.

Even with a 511.5 parking spot deficit for commuters, more commuters are expected to register their vehicles in the future, increasing the gap between cars on campus and parking.

According to Ortiz, PLNU currently has 971 commuters, and “only 763 of those 971 commuters registered for parking permits for the 2014-2015 academic year,” said Papia.

However, with parking spots limited for the semester, they are subject to change on campus for various reasons like safety or construction.

“A couple of parking spots were lost at Young this summer when the parking lot was repainted after curbs were put in to keep cars from falling off the cliff,” said Papia.

Although plans to change the parking on campus aren’t going to happen in the school year, “alternate parking plans are discussed often, but they’re hard to start because of cost and time,” said Papia.. “The new permits should also help track the amount of people parking on campus,” and possibly help with future parking plans. .Students are encouraged to use the on-campus shuttle if they need to park in lower lots.

Public Safety changed the parking permit policy at the beginning of the year and informed students of the change via email. The policy requires resident and commuter students to register their vehicle every academic year. Public Safety made this decision after old registrations made it difficult to keep track of how many people were on campus

The remaining parking spots on campus are for faculty and staff; 344 spots for approximately 550 full-time faculty and staff. The faculty/staff numbers were retrieved from Human Resources at Point Loma Nazarene University and do not include part-time employees.