Editor’s Note: The Sun-Star introduces our readers to a new column by Kimberly Martinez-Melchor, a student at UC Merced who originally is from Lancaster. Martinez-Melchor’s column aims to bring to us the perspective of one of the more than 7,300 Bobcats who call Merced their home away from home.
As I drive down Bellevue road on a Monday morning I look at the time, 11:02, I can take a breather and know that I have more than enough time to make it to class at 11:30.
Approaching the UC campus I take a glance at the parking lots and start to rethink whether I will make it to class on time. Row by row, I drive slowly hoping I will find a decent parking spot. Now, the clock strikes 11:20 and still I am unable to find a spot. Eventually, when I do find a parking spot, I rush out of my car and make the long hike up the hill to the classrooms, only to be late 10 minutes to class.
Many students at UC Merced experience the struggle of trying to find a decent parking spot every day and still be able to make it to class on time.
At the UC campus there are three main parking structures in which students are allowed to park. Lake Lot 1, which is the main parking lot; Lake Lot 2; and the Evolution Parking Lot, which is mainly just gravel and dirt.
Lirio Rebolloso, like many UC Merced students says she prefers to avoid the Evolution Lot. “It’s really far and there’s a bunch of potholes that can make me get a flat tire,” the junior psychology major said. Instead, she tries to park in Lake Lot 2, but has to leave 40 minutes before her class to have a chance of finding a spot there.
Students at the UC pay $160 a semester for a parking permit, which adds up to a total of $320 for an academic year. Many feel with much money being spent, they should be able to get their money’s worth and have the ability to find a decent parking spot and still be able to get to class on time.
Many other students use an alternative method of transportation and use CatTracks, which is the UC’s bus line for students and is included in their student fees.
But Alan Ramirez, a sophomore materials science and engineering major, is among those who find the bus service inconvenient, slowed by its multiple stops and often running behind schedule.
“CatTracks takes way too long and takes up too much time,” he said.
With the chance the bus would have them be late to class, Ramirez and others find driving the best option for getting to school on time.
With the student population growing every year, it seems parking gets a bit more hectic every year, and a demand for more parking spaces are high.
According to UC Merced’s growth plan, the 2020 Project is expected to deliver 940 new parking spaces by fall 2018, and another 630 by fall 2020. It seems that parking is an issue that is slowly being addressed. However, until then, students continuously find themselves having to leave their houses earlier in order to find a decent parking spot, and make it to class on time.
Kimberly Martinez-Melchor, is a junior majoring in English at UC Merced.