I know the Cal State Long Beach parking nightmare has been talked about, written about, maligned and criticized, but I must have one final word to vent my frustrations. Who knows, incoming students may learn a thing or two about how to deal with this mess.
To start with, a student parking permit costs $123 per semester. With the economic climate being the way it is, this fee is not chump change. Students also are dealing with skyrocketing tuition fees and expensive books, making for an increasingly pricey semester at an “affordable” state school.
To add insult to injury, several parking structures and lots are currently under construction — check “construction updates” at csulb.edu for details. Why are we supposed to pay such a high fee if many of the parking areas aren’t even available?
Finding a parking spot after 9:30 a.m. is virtually impossible. Frantic students race through the parking structures like it’s the Indy 500, hoping to find a cherished spot to park. Others clog the driveways and wait for a spot to open up, causing gridlock. Many drivers circle like sharks in the feeding tank, screaming out to any wandering pedestrian, “Hey bro’, are you leaving?” Finding a spot during peak class hours is like striking gold.
We students have found alternative means to combat this enemy. The U-Pass gives CSULB students an opportunity to ride any Long Beach Transit bus or Passport shuttle at no charge. The problem is, you have to ride the bus! I’m all for being “Green,” but the bus can be a sketchy experience. Sometimes the privacy of driving one’s car is far more enticing than sharing a bus seat with the creepy-looking dude yelling at his tennis shoe.
Carpooling helps ease the parking nightmare. The drawback is you are dependent on the person who’s driving. I’m sure many students have been late to a midterm because their buddy with the car overslept after a big night on the town.
Biking is a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative. I actually spent the first half of last semester riding my trusted beach cruiser. I apologize for all those who sat behind me and were forced to stare at my back sweat.
I will say this, though: Stay off 7th Street if you choose to ride your bike. I nearly lost my head riding up 7th when a bus decided to swerve into the bike lane to avoid a stalled car. For all of you bike riders who are coming from the Belmont Heights area, I suggest taking the less stressful 6th Street.
I suggest combining alternative transportation modes. Taking the bus all of the way can be intense, but you can ride a bike half way and bus it the rest. This will cut the chance of a creepy bus experience by 50 percent.
Carpool on days your classes start between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Parking is usually available before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Good luck and good parking!
Grady Dunne is a senior journalism major and an assistant opinions editor for the Daily Forty-Niner.