Parking stirs up trouble for DVC students


Students often find difficulties getting parking spots as DVC’s population continues to increase. (Jesse Sutterley/The Inquirer file photo).

Eric Dionne, Staff member

Many students started the new year at Diablo Valley College frustrated behind the wheel.

While the student population at DVC has skyrocketed to more than 22,000, parking spaces haven’t kept up with demand. Available parking spaces haven’t changed much since 2013, when there were 8,200 spots, leaving hundreds of students each day fighting for a parking place. 

“I think it’s ridiculous that I pay for parking, but still can’t park,” said student Brandon Turner as he returned to his car from classes this week.

DVC students pay between $20 and $48 for a parking permit, but many, like Turner, find that’s no guarantee they will find a spot. As a result, more drivers have resorted to parking on residential streets or even in commercial lots like at the Sunvalley Shopping Center, where they risk fines or towaways.

The increase of students parking off campus is taking a toll on locals, who have voiced their growing irritation to local government.   

“A lot of the (Pleasant Hill) residents don’t like students parking in their neighborhoods,” said Pleasant Hill City Council member Sue Noack. The city has been floating an idea to install parking meters in residential areas around DVC. But Noack said the broader issue of expanded parking must be tackled by the school, not left to the city to solve alone.

“If (DVC) are going to add students, they have to add parking capability as well,” she said.

Pleasant Hill Mayor Ken Carlson told The Inquirer the city is discussing creating more alternate forms of transit, which could lower traffic congestion and free up scarce parking spots around campus.

“What we’re working towards and everything we do in the city is taking advantage of transportation opportunities,” he said.   

The number of students at DVC has steadily increased in recent years, from around 19,000 in 2015 to 22,000 today. 

DVC’s parking policy states that having a permit does not guarantee students a parking spot. In addition to the frustration of not easily finding a spot, many students are often late to class. 

As a result, some have stopped buying parking permits altogether.

 “I was going to get (a parking permit), but I just started parking at the mall and in the neighborhood, so I decided not to waste my money,” said DVC student Grant Payton.