How to grab that last parking spot

Cassandra Hays, Staff Reporter

This is a story nearly every student at CWU has told. Class starts in ten minutes and you’re still circling the parking lot looking for a spot, you think you see one up ahead, but alas, someone drives up and takes it before you can get there. You end up walking into class ten minutes late after finally finding a spot across campus, armed with the common excuse that you couldn’t find parking.

It’s no secret that the parking situation at CWU leaves a lot to be desired. It’s an issue that students who commute have to face on a daily basis. Every day is a struggle to find a parking spot and make it to class on time.

It’s understandable why students are so fed up with parking. For one, it’s expensive! A parking pass for the academic year—from September to June—will run you $193, a price that many students think is outrageous considering it will not guarantee you a parking spot. Parking Services usually sells more passes than there are spaces available, working under the assumption that not every student will be on campus at the same time. As a result, the parking lots tend to be completely full during popular class times, meaning students have to fight over a spot. With about 11,500 students at CWU, many of whom drive, it is understandable that there will never be enough parking spots for everyone. Still, it is extremely frustrating as it seems like little is being done to improve the situation.

The truth of it is, the lack of parking deters students from going to class. I know countless people, myself included, who have just given up and gone home rather than drive around a full parking lot for 20 minutes. Many students will even park in the designated 30-minute parking spots and risk getting a ticket if it means getting to class on time.

So, what can you do to help ease your frustration with the parking at CWU? One of the most obvious and simple solutions is to leave the house earlier. Leaving an extra 10 to 15 minutes early for class will give you time to circle the numerous parking lots and hopefully find a spot with time to spare before class starts. Another option is to park a little farther away. Some parking lots are more popular than others, so you are more likely to find a spot in one of the farther lots. The majority of parking lots are located north of campus, so you will likely have better luck parking there. Just be sure to account for a couple of extra minutes of walking!

Another solution is to stop driving altogether and opt for walking or biking to class. Not only will you avoid the parking struggle, but you will also get the benefits of daily exercise.

The final solution I have to offer is to pick less popular class times if your schedule allows it. Generally, most students like to take classes in the morning, or from around 8 a.m. to noon. Planning your classes for the afternoon or evening means you will be more likely to get parking due to less people being on campus.