Sac State parking by the numbers: More permits issued than spaces

Students forced to ‘shark to park’


Tracy Holmes

Traffic leaving Sac State. The school sold 17,278 student permits this semester and has 9,990 student spots.

Tracy Holmes

It’s no secret finding parking is difficult for students who drive to Sacramento State — part of the problem might be the university selling more parking permits than it has parking spaces.

Every year, Sac State, along with the other CSU campuses, sells more permits than there are spaces due to  “turnover” according to Tony Lucas, senior director of Sac State’s University Transportation and Parking Services.

We expect vehicles to come and not stay all day resulting in a space being occupied for part of the day and then open another part of the day,” he said. “We also understand that not all students come on all days, which means that spaces are open and available.”

Lucas said UTAPS sold 17,278 student parking permits this fall, compared to 17,164 last fall. This doesn’t account for the numerous daily passes and students who take the risk and park without a permit.

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Lucas said that UTAPS restricts the sale of parking permits, but only after the start of the semester. For UTAPS, the ‘start of the semester’ lasts at least two weeks. 

“UTAPS monitors the occupancy and vacancy level of student parking lots. If the occupancy levels of the parking lots reach capacity, excluding the start of the semester, we will restrict the sale of semester permits,” said Lucas. 

The campus has 13,854 parking spaces, of which 9,990 are student spaces. UTAPS sells an average of 500 day passes and 250 two hour passes Monday through Thursday, according to Lucas.

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Brienna Edwards, a journalism major, has problems with traffic coming and going from campus. She lives in Carmichael. 

“Traffic coming to school varies, but I always leave early so I don’t have to worry about being late if it is a bad traffic day, especially when I am taking surface streets from Carmichael,” Edwards said.  

During peak times on campus, typically Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., traffic is congested on surface streets and nearby freeways. When students show up to park, it can be a challenge to find a spot.

“I drive around a bunch and can’t find any parking, I end up driving around until eventually going to lot 7 to find a spot,” Edwards said. “It takes me 30 minutes or more to find a parking spot. It sucks.”

Lucas said that increasing student use of alternative transit is UTAPS’s goal for decreasing automotive traffic. 

“If you are a student, this is the ideal time to experiment with taking alternative transportation to the campus,” Lucas said. “We can reduce the amount of circulation traffic, you know, sharking for parking, people just driving around.”

Kenny Simonian is an English major at Sac State who finds ways around the parking and traffic problems on campus.

“I park in the main lot and parking is not too bad because I get here super early to make sure I have time to get to class,” Simonian said.

He explained that it took him some time to learn not to park in the parking structures because of congestion. 

“I leave around 4:30 p.m. and because of where I am parked the traffic is not bad, Simonian said. “If I was to park in the parking structure, it would take a long time just to get out of the parking structure.”

Lucas said when Parking Structure One is redesigned, the campus will lose some spaces. According to Lucas, Parking Structure One is currently being evaluated in order to widen parking spaces and add energy-efficient lighting.  

Lucas said that at no time this semester were parking spaces completely full. 

He said that students should download the Sac State app in order to find parking.

“You can check to see where parking spaces are available by downloading the Sac State app and clicking on the commute sections. On the right-most tab it shows you red, yellow, green, where there is parking,” said Lucas.