New Semester, Old Problems — Parking Remains Top Campus Issue


Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

Students struggling to find a place to park at the Fresno City College parking lot D on Monday Jan.26, 2016.

The beginning of a new semester means devising new ways of tackling parking problems at Fresno City College.

For some students, it means getting to campus one hour to half an hour early, depending on how early their first class is.

For Fallon O’Keefe, first semester student majoring in medical assistance program, finding parking spaces this semester has been a breeze.

O’Keefe said she had heard the horrors of parking on campus and was amazed at how quickly she was able to find parking.

“I stalk them [students walking to their cars],” O’Keefe said, “until I get their parking spot.”

Although she has had no problems with finding parking on campus, she said the college should build an extension to the parking lot.

Twenty-year-old art student, Monica Gonzalez, said her experience with parking on campus has been very different from O’keefe’s; she comes to campus 40 minutes before her 8 a.m. class, and it still takes her 15 minutes to find a parking space.

Gonzalez said that this semester’s traffic is lighter than it was in the fall of 2015 but that parking passes should be enforced more strictly.

She added that campus police should wait about five minutes before issuing a ticket, just in case the driver is trying to buy a day pass and has to wait in a long line.

Gonzalez would also like to see more parking meters that actually work.

Jose Ibarra, 20-year-old film major, compares finding a parking space at FCC to winning a lottery. He said he arrives 20 minutes early in order to find parking on campus. He suggests the college extends the parking lot to add more metered spaces for students who do not wish or need to buy a parking pass.

Nursing major Jordyn Fontes said it only took her 10 minutes to find parking in the first week of class. She arrives 30 minutes before her class every day to get a good parking spot so she is not late for class.

Fontes suggests students get to campus an hour and half early so they have plenty of time for parking.

If all else fails, Fontes said, students should find parking space away from campus.

Cris Monahan Bremer, director of marketing and communications said the college has a few temporary solutions to the parking shortage.

“What we do for the first three to four weeks is we have a shuttle service,” Bremer said.

Students and staff can park behind Ratcliffe Stadium and use a shuttle which comes every 15 minutes, on Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Bremer also suggests students carpool or look for alternative transportation.

“You can ride your bike if you don’t live too far,” Bremer said, adding that the college has increased the number of bike racks.

Bremer said that the State Center Community College District is planning to construct a parking structure near Carl’s Jr [on Blackstone and McKinley] if a bond measure in the 2016 general election passes. If voters support the measure, FCC will receive more money than the $161 million it received in the 2002 bond measure.

The increase in funds will mean students will have adequate parking spaces and are not late for class anymore.

The capacity of the parking structure is still unknown, but more parking spaces for students means fewer people struggling to find parking.

Meanwhile,“You have to plan ahead,” Bremer said. “If you have a class at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., you need to get here by 7:30 a.m. to get parking.”