Student tracks parking stats

Posted on September 11, 2012

A Cal State Fullerton computer science master’s student wrote a program that accurately tracks parking statistics on all CSUF parking structures.

Brian Frick, 24, collected and graphed data from the campus’ parking space monitoring system found online. The statistics look at parking spaces in Nutwood, Eastside and State College parking structures — leaving the parking nature of College Park, Lot A, G and S unknown.

“I think it (the results) was interesting,” Frick said. “It’s something that a lot of us have probably wanted to know, but I don’t think it changes much for us.”

After collecting the data for one week, Frick then graphed the data in two ways: by day and by structure. The findings were published on the CSUF sub-Reddit page.

Less than 200 parking spots are available in the campus parking structures before 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday. (Photo by Nuran Alteir)

Students trying to park in the structures Sept. 4-6 found virtually no parking spaces between 9-10 a.m., the statistics suggested. The same graph showed fewer than 200 parking spots are available in the structures, save Nutwood, until 2 p.m.

“(The results) were kind of what I expected. I didn’t expect to see anything unusual,” Frick said.

The high demand for parking is reflective of class schedule, said Joe Ferrer, director of Parking and Transportation Services.

According to the admissions office, more classes are offered Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, the lack of parking spaces is indicative of how busy the first four weeks of school can be.

Some students, however, have attributed the lack of parking to the amount of parking passes sold.

“(Parking and Transportation) sells so many parking permits that there’s not enough spots,” said Cameron Brownlee, 21, a health science major.

According to a Daily Titan article, the number of parking passes sold doubled the number of parking spaces available in 2011.

Recently, less permits have been purchased over the years, Ferrer said. This was due, in part, to an increase in tuition cost and price of parking permits, he said.

The numbers show there are ample spots before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. on most weekdays. Looking at the graph illustrating parking spaces by day, the number of parking spaces available increases in pockets. As less classes are offered, more parking spots are available as the day goes on.

Students most likely had the hardest time finding parking at the State College Parking Structure from 9 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, according to the findings. It did not appear there was any problem finding parking on Friday.

Frick said he plans to collect data again during the sixth or seventh week of school to cross-reference his earlier data.

“I predict that the graphs for the parking structures will be almost the same as they are now,” Frick said, “and (the lots) they don’t count and you can’t make graphs of, like Lot A and Lot G, you’ll actually be able to park in those on week six and seven. I don’t think there’s going to be any change in the structures themselves.”

Parking Solutions

Despite the problems some students face with parking, Ferrer said the employees at Parking and Transportation Services have been working toward making parking at school less stressful.

This semester, for example, assisted parking is back. An external company was hired to assist drivers with parking their cars behind others vehicles, otherwise known as “stacked parking.”

“We want to accommodate students on campus so we can be respectful to our relationship with the city,” Ferrer said, referring to students who park in the neighborhoods.

Along with stacked parking, Parking and Transportation Services also provides OCTA U-Pass for students. Ferrer estimated 2,000 to 3,000 students have requested a U-Pass this semester alone.

Additionally, Parking and Transportation Services encourages car sharing, carpooling and is looking into improving bike facilities on campus.

“It sounds contradictory — we’re trying to sell parking spaces, but we’re also promoting other modes of transportation,” Ferrer said.

Originally published in the Daily Titan, Cal State Fullerton’s student-run newspaper.

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