Art by Elizabeth Brummer
As students return for the spring semester, talk of new schedules, routines and resolutions permeate campus. But one old problem remains: parking.
Students across all majors often complain of running late to class or driving around for 15 minutes before finding a spot. A survey of 174 Seaver students conducted by The Graphic in September of 2019 found that approximately 24% of students wrote that Pepperdine should make “better” or “more parking” its top priority or a five-year goal, among other answers such as inclusion, improving gym facilities and sustainability.
Students hear of ideas, such as a parking garage, but there is a lack of action when it comes to this project. They are told to deal with it “for now” and get to campus 20 minutes early to park. But as every overcommitted Wave knows, that is not always feasible. The university should prioritize parking so that “for now” turns into a possible future.
There are a few suggestions the Graphic offers to the university. A Graphic article in 2018 explored how other universities tackle on-campus parking. The article highlighted the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a university with a much larger number of students than Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a university similar in size to Pepperdine.
Unlike Pepperdine, both universities have some variation of a Department of Parking, separate from their Campus Safety Department. The Graphic staff recommends Pepperdine create a Department of Parking that would be separate from DPS.
This would allow a group of administrators, whose sole purpose is to focus on parking, to create plans and initiatives, along with starting an open dialogue with students. The staff acknowledges that DPS is in charge of campus safety, crime and emergencies, so creating two departments would allow for concentrated attention.
At LMU, a valet system allows for more cars to fit into a designated space by using a stacked formation. The staff proposes a new Department of Parking at Pepperdine to offer a similar service to students. This would save time for students looking for spots and maximize car space on campus. Furthermore, it would create more job opportunities for student workers.
It is important to note that LMU students pay a $374.50 fee per semester. The university allocates these resources towards the construction of additional parking spaces as well as the complimentary valet service. It is possible that without a reallocation of existing resources and money, Pepperdine students may have to pay for a valet system.
A simpler and cheaper solution is to paint lines along the hillsides and streets to prevent awkward gaps between cars. This would guide students on exactly where to park and maximize the already available space. Just as Rho parking lot has painted lines, the streets should have its own version too. Aesthetically, there may be some drawbacks, but it is a faster solution than others.
Ultimately, students should ask themselves if certain costs are worth the reduced stress that these solutions might offer.
Follow the Pepperdine Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic