Parking Inequality: Why Students Find Spaces Faster At Pleasant Hill Than San Ramon


Alexandros Silva

Photo by Alexandros Silva

Diablo Valley College students who drive to the Pleasant Hill campus tend to have an easier time finding parking than those who commute to the smaller San Ramon Campus, according to recent interviews.

The location of the schools and their size—Pleasant Hill is much larger in area and carries a bigger student population—are both contributing factors, students say. 

“I am currently going to both DVC campuses so I can say from experience that the Pleasant Hill one is way simpler to find your way to each parking lot, with many directions they give,” said Ryan Goddard, 20. 

“Parking at Pleasant Hill usually takes me about 30 seconds,” he added, “while San Ramon takes me longer. This has always been the norm for me.” 

Geography major Anthony Diaz, 20, who regularly attends classes at Pleasant Hill, said he rarely faces issues finding a spot. 

“I’ve been going to DVC for two years now, and parking only takes a few minutes to find a space once I arrive in a parking lot,” said Diaz.

However, he said the school could add more signs to make navigating the lots easier. 

“The parking here could definitely use some more organization to shape things up into an even faster process,” he added. 

Lt. Kathryn McDonald, a district police officer at Pleasant Hill, said police are working hard to meet the needs of students.

“We patrol in the parking lots and take note of any improvements that could be made,” McDonald said.

For example, “Most recently we have reached out to other campus departments to determine if a current area marked as a loading zone is still needed. If not, we will recommend it be converted to parking. We do see full parking lots at times.”

The cost of parking may be one reason why more spaces at Pleasant Hill remain available—versus at San Ramon where parking remains free, with no permit needed.

According to, people parking at DVC in Pleasant Hill must buy a parking permit and park in approved spots in order not to get cited. Citation fines are around $40. 

The parking permit for Spring 2023 costs $48. The permit for Summer is $25. 

At San Ramon, students say the school is trying to come up with solutions to create more accessible parking.  

“Recently at the San Ramon campus, despite the small size, the school is making efforts to make parking easier for all—like how the campus has allowed cars to park next to curbs without any consequences,” said Travis Duong, 20, who attends the San Ramon campus.

At Pleasant Hill, even those who are able to find spaces said the process of parking could flow more smoothly.

 “Only going here for one semester so far, I’m still not used to all of the directions when driving here,” said Evan Heinz, 19, who is majoring in natural science and attends classes on the Pleasant Hill campus.

“There are so many parking lots that just searching for one is crazy in itself, and it’s been so challenging it has caused me to be late to class a few times.”