Game plan necessary for being on time
Uplifting spirit — Gospel rapper Aaron Swuth performs during a concert to raise money to buy new robes for the Contra Costa College Gospel Choir Friday at the Hilltop Community Church. The show attracted a diverse audience. Michael Sue / The Advocate
As I made my second pass of Shane Drive in search of parking early Wednesday morning, my eyes darted back and forth from the line of parked cars to my dashboard's clock.
The digital readout told me that if I didn't find parking soon, I'd be late for class yet again.
I ended up parking on Canterbury Drive, an off-shoot of Shane that many late-rising students without campus parking permits know all too well.
It's usually the only street with available parking after 9 a.m. on weekdays, and its geography requires a 10 minute walk to campus.
I stepped out of my car and into the rain at the exact minute my journalism class was scheduled to begin.
What was worse, I forgot a waterproof jacket, so not only was I going to be walking into class late, but I'd be doing it soaked to the bone.
Had I bought a parking permit, my situation would have been a little simpler, but still would involve a decent hike from the back of Lot 10 up to the Applied Arts Building in the rain.
My lack of foresight, however, is dwarfed by that of the college's.
Contra Costa College is currently split in two by an enormous hole that will one day be the site of the college's Campus Center and a three-story, state-of-the-art classroom building.
As a result of construction, Lots 5 and 7 were fenced off to house equipment, resulting in the loss of 43 parking spots.
Also, 15 spaces in Lot 3 are now unavailable to students. They were converted to staff only parking.
For students with parking permits, parking is a coveted treasure, as it is for those without permits and neighboring residents caught in the college's traffic.
A multi-story parking garage should have been included in the plans for the current construction project.
What's the point of erecting new buildings to accommodate more students and entice them to choose CCC for college if there isn't enough parking to accommodate the existing student body?
I know when I feel like leaving campus in the downtime before my next class, I usually abstain, to my displeasure, as I remind myself of the 10-minute walk off campus and up Shane Drive.
There is no guarantee that my parking space will still be available upon return, and may result in an even longer walk back to campus.
All of my classes are in the AA Building, with the exception of a PE class on the track, so getting to and from classes can be irksome, considering the two locations are on opposite ends of campus.
For parking permit holders, the largest lots are 2 and 10, which reside on the far west and east ends of campus, respectively.
So, if you park in either lot and have classes in the Liberal Arts, Art, Music or sciences buildings, prepare for a hike. Also prepare to familiarize yourself with the detours construction has presented, and plan accordingly.
I recommend students familiarize themselves with the college's layout, and strategically choose classes that can be quickly accessed from wherever they plan to park, on or off campus.
And set your alarms 20 minutes earlier if you're like me and have issues waking up in the morning.
We can keep our fingers crossed for a parking garage, but waking up earlier is the only way to combat our parking woes for now.
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