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Solving the Parking Puzzle: Students resort to to tactics in scramble for parking spaces

By | August 27, 2013 | News
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Full parking areas leave room for some students to be asked for rides back to their cars in exchange for their parking spot and can lead to potential dangers on campus. Photo by: Roe Borunda

In the daily struggle for parking at Fresno State, students resort to creative but risky tactics to secure a spot for their car.

Close to 23,000 students are on campus this semester, and of the 7,452 parking spaces available, about 4,700 are for students. Those numbers mean that people may be willing to try anything to get a space.

One idea that students circling the parking lot have is to swoop in on people who appear to be walking back to their cars. In exchange for a ride, students will give the temporary taxi the parking spot.

Senior Sierra Spitulski said Monday morning she was looking for a parking spot in Lot Q when she saw a man walking back to his car. Before she could move in, however, someone got to him first.

“A girl came up to him, rolled down her passenger window, and asked if he was going back to his car,” Spitulski said. “He pointed to the back of the lot, and she followed him. I would have offered to drive him.”

She said that after living on campus for three years, she was almost overwhelmed by the mad rush for parking when she drove to campus about 10:30 a.m.

Amy Armstrong, the parking administrator at Fresno State, said peak hours for traffic on campus are 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.

What seems like a resourceful solution to the problem holds risk, however. Sophomore Raina Lamb said that people, especially women, should be wary about offering even a short drive to someone.

“I’d be hesitant, especially for a guy and maybe even a girl,” Lamb said. “It’s creative and seems like a good idea, but you don’t know the person. It would be different if it was a friend.”

During the day with a lot of traffic and people walking around, Spitulski said there wouldn’t be a problem with safety.

“I think if a woman asked [for a ride], it would work,” Spitulski said. “If it’s a guy asking a girl, you have to be careful.”

Armstrong said students should keep perspective.

“Students should always be cautious and put their personal safety above everything,” Armstrong said.

Vehicular safety is also at risk. Students have been known, senior Travis Webb said, to idle in parking aisles to pounce on an open spot. As a result, aisles become clogged with drivers waiting for parking spots.

“It is not against the law for vehicles to idle in a parking lot,” Armstrong said. “The best practice is to drive through parking lots with caution. Be aware of the pedestrians, vehicles backing out of stalls and other vehicles searching for a parking space. Find a space as quickly as possible, and park.”

It is the “as quickly as possible” phrase that frustrates Webb.

“If I noticed someone not moving when I was passing lanes, I would keep driving,” Webb said. “It’s very annoying. How effective is that? Wouldn’t it be better to drive around looking than hope someone returns to that one aisle?”

Spitulski said that it looks like cars are parked in the aisles with one at each end.

“It was like a faceoff or the start of a race,” Spitulski said. “It was like they were revving their engines.”

The NASCAR quality to finding parking could be avoided, said Webb, who commuted for three years, with better time management.

“You should just go early if you know it’s going to be busy,” Webb said. “It’s not hard to do.”

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