The red painting of a sidewalk near the Stanislaus State campus has raised questions and concerns from Stan State commuters and the school’s neighboring residents. The main concern that people have is how much needed parking space has been taken away.
Stan State student, Michael Leon (sophomore, Kinesiology), bought an on-campus parking pass for his last three semesters. Leon has learned the hard way that buying a nearly $200 parking permit does not guarantee a spot.
“Most parking lots are full. I usually only find [a parking spot] next to the art building, but that still requires some searching for it”, said Leon.
Experiences similar to Leon’s have persuaded many students to choose a different route when trying to get a parking spot.
Andre Rodriguez (senior, Biology) is a daily commuter who has parked both on and off campus. Rodriguez explained that he used to buy an on-campus parking pass, but believed that the stressfulness of finding an open spot was not worth the price.
“You’re still struggling for a parking spot whether you’re on campus or off campus, so I didn’t find any good reason as to why I should pay”, said Rodriguez.
He believes that walking the extra distance takes up less time compared to circling the neighborhoods and waiting for a closer parking spot to open up. No matter which option he decides to take, he always has a sense of urgency.
“It usually takes 10 minutes to get to my first class, so if I get here within 10 minutes of class starting, I’m almost always going to be late”, Rodriguez added.
Several other members of the campus community have gone through what Leon and Rodriguez have experienced and are choosing to park off-campus instead. With this current trend, convenient off-campus parking spaces are more valuable than ever.
With a small portion of sidewalk on Crowell road being painted red over the summer to accommodate a brand new stop sign, students like Jessica Franco (sophomore, Liberal Studies) have been forced to park further away from campus.
“I park down Crowell near Rite-Aid,” Franco said. “It takes me about 15 minutes to find a spot every day.”
Students are not the only ones who are unhappy with this recent reduction of parking spaces. A nearby homeowner explains how vehicles have begun to park further into his neighborhood.
“I remember a couple of years ago, my neighbor who lives right behind me would complain about kids parking in front of his house, and I always laughed because I never had that problem,” the homeowner said.
“Now it seems like I received bad karma because now I have random cars outside my window everyday,” the homeowner added.
He does not know whether or not the newly painted sidewalk is a major reason for such vehicle congestion in the neighborhood, but he was not thrilled upon hearing the news.
The homeowner also explained how he is coping with this issue. He is beginning to use traffic cones to steer drivers away from his front yard.
“I have multiple cars and they all can't fit in the garage or driveway. I need my own space. The cones are just necessary,” the homeowner said.
It is the job of the University Police Department (UPD) to make sure that those who are on school campus are safe. Although they cannot enforce laws or make any changes to the campus’ surrounding area, they are always working with their fellow members of the Campus Safety Committee to help communicate with the city of Turlock about any potential or existing safety concerns.
According to the UPD's chief, Clint Strode, a local bike path that stems from Christofferson road was extended into Crowell road. The idea behind this bike lane extension is to accommodate for the increase in students riding bikes to and from campus. The only way to prevent possible conflict between bike riders and vehicles was to add a stop sign and additional sidewalk space.
“There’s always a balance you have to maintain between safety and convenience,” Chief Strode explained.
Chief Strode understands that people may be upset at the fact that possible free parking spaces have been eliminated, but he doesn’t believe that this change is the reason for the rise in parking congestion in local neighborhoods.
“It’s only displaced about 15 cars or so. I don’t think it impacts too many people,” Chief Strode adds.
He hopes that people realize that there is a bigger picture than convenient parking.
“I’m hoping the tradeoff is very positive and hopefully that is enough to outweigh the loss of 12-15 parking spaces” Chief Strode expresses.