Parking permits finally became available at Mills the week of Sept.11, and the move brought past parking concerns back to the surface-and unfortunately for students, tickets.
Michael Lopez, director of Public Safety, said that parking citations weren’t implemented for the first three weeks of the semester because permits had not yet been issued.
Lopez said that while the department doesn’t know exactly how many permits it will issue, they have already ordered 1,500 commuter, 800 residential and around 200 visitors permits for this school year; the Mills campus contains 1,089 parking spaces, including the recent additions of new spaces.
According to Lopez, those additional spaces totaled 60 and were added over the summer. They are located in the parking lot near Ethel Moore residence hall, and Richards parking lot The gravel parking spots in Richards, will, according to him, be paved “soon.”
Even with the add-ons, the disproportionate amount of permits to spots available is proof that lack of parking is a valid concern among students and staff. Arriving way before classtime to try and grab a parking spot is common. Lopez says the problem is exacerbated by the concetrated block of time in which most Mills classes take place.
“According to the city of Oakland we have enough parking spaces on this campus, but most classes are held from around 10 [a.m.] to early afternoon,” he says. He thinks if more classes were held earlier or in the evening, the problem may be alleviated.
Regardless of whether or not a student can find parking, Lopez says if they are caught violating Mills policy they will be fined. Frequent offenders can rack up a hefty price tag in tickets. Students have until Oct. 31 to pay any past fines; unpaid tickets will be added to the student’s account.
One solution that students came up with this school year in response to ongoing parking issues is the carpool network. It can be accessed via myMills and allows students to build a transportation schedule to and from the campus with other students who live in their area. One flaw with the program is ensuring that students follow through with plans. “I don’t trust that students will always come to class,” said senior Alma Nava.
But she brought up other transportation issues, including the Mills van schedule. “The van needs to stop at other Oakland stops,” she said.
One stop, Albertson’s on MacArthur Ave., has been added due to student request. Yet Lopez says the budget for the Mills van is already being stretched to its limits, and it is unlikely that any more stops will be added soon.
Questions remain as to how much of a parking issue student drivers will face this semester. Too little parking space will likely continue, but the van and carpool network are resources that all Mills students can utilize.