The Mills parking hassle

By
February 26, 2004

Mills College Weekly

With more parking passes issued than spaces available, it’s no
wonder that students, faculty, staff and visitors alike have
problems trying to find a place to park at Mills.

According to Public Safety, 1,441 parking permits have been
issued, while there are 1,029 parking spaces available. A number of
these spaces are unavailable to the usual driver: many are
reserved—some disabled and others reserved for campus vehicle
use—and often, drivers find entire parking lots are blocked
off for use by construction vehicles.

While community members feel the shortage of spaces most during
crucial times like registration and finals—when almost
everyone has to be on campus for one reason or another—the
problem still exists in the day-to-day routine of getting to
classes, work, and appointments.

Junior Riana Shaw, a commuting student, said she’s been late to
class before because she couldn’t find a place to park.

“I have to leave early to give myself time, and sometimes I just
park in the residential lots where I know I shouldn’t, but there
are spaces available and I have to get to class,” said Shaw. “I’m
surprised Mills doesn’t organize a carpool,” she said, “you know a
lot of students must live around each other.”

Junior Abigail Stockinger has a different problem from the
shortage of spaces. Stockinger is disabled, but even with parking
spaces reserved for her, she still has a hard time finding a
suitable place to park.

“I don’t have a hard time finding spaces because I can use the
handicapped spaces, but when people park in the striped zones [the
access spaces next to disabled spaces] it’s a real problem for me,”
she said. She could park there, but would have no room to get her
wheelchair out of her car.

She said she ends up using the space by the library most of the
time, no matter how far away it is from her class, because she
knows there’s always room for her to get in and out.

So, does Mills have plans for more parking in the near future?
The answer is no, according to Paul Richards, Director of Campus
Facilities.

“We’re interested in preserving the environment we have here.
The value of [the environment] means we resist more paving.”

“We’ve built over 300 more spaces in the last ten years, while
the student body population itself has not really increased that
much, just the percentage of drivers. But there are still
spaces—they’re just not in front of the places you want to
be,” he said.

Richards said Public Safety has received complaints about lack
of parking availability, and driven around campus to find more than
70 spaces available.

The average number of spaces for every student has risen
significantly, from .65 to .86 for every student, from 1990-2001
according to the latest data available from Campus Facilities. But
this number does not account for the number of visitors, faculty,
and staff members who also compete for prime parking spaces every
day.

Richards, like Shaw, hopes to see more students carpooling in
the future. “And remember,” he said, “UC Berkeley students have
nowhere to park on campus at all.”

There is also the possibility that, depending on funding, spaces
in the parking lot next to Larsen Co-op may be rearranged to create
more spaces without more pavement, Richards said.

The majority of graduate students, 93 percent, are commuters,
combined with 50 percent of undergraduates, according to the latest
Mills Facts & Trends published by the Office of Institutional
Research & Planning.


The Mills parking hassle was published on February 26, 2004 in News

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