The key to working the parking system at Capital is to actually not have a car at all, if it can be helped, according to Chief Frank Fernandez. Parking for new students and returning students can either be an utter nightmare to behold, or just another mundane task.
“If you don’t need the car, don’t bring it. Don’t spend $200 and instead take advantage of the free COTA bus pass Capital offers to all students to get around the city,” Fernandez said. “Plus, you will be socializing and making friends with people who are older and will have cars.”
Fernandez also said that it’s an issue for the school as well as the students. “For me, it’s another space that we need, but for the students, it’s something that they buy just in case if they do end up needing their car,” he said. “During the winter, it’s easy to see how many students don’t actually use their cars because the snow will pile on for weeks and weeks, and if you live close by and only use your car occasionally, you can get a day pass on campus or we can give a guest a pass for no fee.”
Fernandez estimates roughly 2,000 parking spots on campus. A rough estimate of 1,400 of those spots are taken by students living on campus, not to mention incoming workers, faculty, and commuters who can’t find a parking spot on busy days like Mondays and Wednesdays. The current construction on Yochum takes up approximately another 40 spots.
With the competition among students trying to get parking passes, it is inevitable that some students will be given parking tickets for not following the rules. This aspect can be frightening for incoming and returning students as the scramble for a spot continues. “Communication is key,” Fernandez said. “Talk to us. We’re very understanding, we are here to work with and for the students and can tell them what to do or come up with an agreement.”
Students should also be careful when it comes to parking in specific places, as that will lead them to a ticket, too. For example, some of the parking lots, such as Trinity (S8) and the lot next to Lohman (S7) cannot be parked in from 2-6 a.m. so commuter students have access to spots close enough to campus.
“We’re not here to work against students. For example, if a car breaks down, call us, we can figure something out, or set up an agreement,” he said.
Students can call to find parking spots on busy days as well when they’re at a loss on where to go. “But we only have cameras in certain areas, such as S1, S2, and the Commons, so it’s limited to the information we can provide. But yes, students can call if they need help finding a parking spot on busy days,” Fernandez said.