Tuesday began with a minor miracle: I found parking.
Usually, the first few weeks of a semester are an interminable purgatory, spent drifting between rows of spaces packed with cars or snaking through the various labyrinthian parking structures in a fruitless search for a single spot.
Worst of all missing a class on the first day often gets you dropped from said class.
The first week or two of any semester is going to be stressful, and having a class dropped because you couldn’t find a parking spot feels unfair and deeply frustrating.
Long Beach State President Jane Close Conoley understands the issue and has referred to parking as a “tangible barrier” to learning. And she is following through, bringing back the valet service which, so far, has curtailed the worst of it.
It was such an unmitigated disaster that parking was my greatest fear going into the semester, not classes, or the commute, or work, but parking.
Spring semester typically has a smaller student body, but parking has been such an issue since the school’s inception, some of the earliest articles ever published by the Daily Forty-Niner are about how terrible the parking situation was, that I prepared myself for the worst.
This can be a major roadblock (pun intended) for students as many more impacted classes drop students not present on the first day.
Parking woes are one of the core elements of CSULB, as much as the squirrels and the Pyramid and the perpetually broken escalators, and that’s a real shame. There is so much to love about this campus and its culture, but when talking about the campus how hard it is to find a parking spot inevitably comes up in the first sentence or two.
In my orientation on campus, one of the first things I was told was that I should get to campus an hour or two before classes start to find a spot. And every semester I hear people joking about showing up at 6 a.m. to find a spot.
Hopefully these days are over, and if CSULB can learn from last semester’s failure and Tuesday’s success there’s a real possibility that it can.