Illustration by Jen Kelly

No Parking, No Progress

Study reveals complex campus parking problem with solutions still far-off

Study reveals complex campus parking problem with solutions still far-off

In 2017, Humboldt State University commissioned a parking market demand study which found exactly what commuters knew—there is a problem with parking on campus.

HSU has a total of 2,162 spaces, about 1,000 of which are general parking. These spaces are shared among more than 9,000 students, staff, faculty, visitors and administrators. The study found solving the parking problem might be harder than adding more spaces. Terrain is challenging, space is limited and HSU has a finite budget.

Film student Alice Peterson had a panic attack the first time she had to park on campus.

“It was raining really hard, I was late to class, it was the second or third week, there were no spaces and there was a lot of over-stimulation,” Peterson said. “My fight or flight kind of kicked in and I left.”

Peterson has needed to drive to class more and more ever since. A load of heavy, expensive film equipment makes walking every day impossible. During her time at HSU, she has racked up almost $500 in parking violations because she is forced to park illegally or in spaces meant for visitors.

David Lieb is the national director of higher education mobility planning at Walker Consultants, the parking consultant firm that HSU contracted to conduct the market demand study. Lieb worked on the study personally and said that although universities are a group of people sharing a common parking problem, HSU faces some unique issues.

“You have a challenging topography,” Lieb said. “Everybody wants to park in a space that’s convenient to where they go, but there’s a limit to the number of spaces.”

There is barely any room on or near campus to add a significant amount of spaces, which is why many students are advocating for a parking structure. But Lieb did not recommend a structure.

“The shortage at this point is such that we don’t believe it would solve the problem,” Lieb said. “The survey suggested that there was more demand out there, but people were saying, ‘Why would I buy a permit if I’m not going to get a space?’ So if you increased the number of spaces, the people who are currently saying, ‘I’m not going to buy one,’ are going to buy one.”

This process means the parking situation would remain the same if a structure was built, but the parking prices would have to increase to pay for the construction.

“By what we calculated, parking prices would at least double or possibly triple,” Lieb said. “Our company provides design services for parking structures. We would be delighted to design a parking structure for you, but we’re not going to recommend it if we don’t think it’s the right solution.”

Alternative transportation and ride share programs are already available through HSU.

Jeanne Rynne, the associate vice president of Facilities Management, and Krista Paddock, HSU’s Parking and Commuter Services program coordinator, are working together to alleviate parking demand. All plans are in preliminary stages of development, but the long-term goal is to limit the number of cars that are brought to campus instead of adding more parking spaces.

“We are looking at potential park-and-ride lots in the area,” Paddock said.

There are parking lots in Eureka and McKinleyville that stand nearly empty during HSU’s busiest times. Those lots could be used as off-campus parking. HSU could then provide buses to and from the designated lots to limit the number of cars coming to campus daily.

“We’re always trying to promote ride share with the Zip Cars and the Zagster bikes and the Jack Pass program,” Rynne said.

Alternative transportation and ride share programs are already available through HSU. Both Paddock and Rynne said there are no concrete solutions on the table yet. For the time being, they plan on heavily marketing the programs that already exist.

“We’re always open to feedback,” Rynne said. “We have the Parking and Transportation Committee and there’s two student vacancies.”

Rynne, Paddock and Lieb all agree that parking is an incredibly emotional issue. Finding a space can take a long time. The study noted many commuters take longer to find a space than to travel to and from HSU, and HSU’s lots fill to 100% capacity during peak hours.

Parking is stressful in a special way. No one studying or working at HSU needs additional stress, but money and topography appear to be blocking all the solutions.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program