A car drives by a pay station in Lot 20 at SF State on May 8, 2023. (Dan Hernandez for Golden Gate Xpress) (Dan Hernandez)
A car drives by a pay station in Lot 20 at SF State on May 8, 2023. (Dan Hernandez for Golden Gate Xpress)

Dan Hernandez

SF State students share thoughts on high campus parking costs

SF State’s status as a commuter school is complicated by high parking costs. Here’s what students who drive had to say.

May 12, 2023

Students not only have to deal with the hassle of finding parking, but also expensive prices during the process. Finding an accessible parking spot during the early hours of the morning — when everyone else is in a rush to find a spot — is difficult.  

There is a common theme of students driving around campus to try and find street parking. Many students also believe the parking garage is in a spot where nobody goes and the space costs them a hefty amount of money.

“The only parking that is available you have to pay for it and I pay $400 for a permit that has a really small parking spot and is hard to fit into,” said Faye Mayer, an SF State junior. 

SF State, compared to other schools, has a very high parking permit price per semester. Parking in the garage will cost students $480 for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday parking. In comparison, semester parking at San Jose State is $192 and Sacramento State is $181.

Parked cars sit in Lot 19 at SF State on Monday, May 8, 2023. (Dan Hernandez for Golden Gate Xpress) (Dan Hernandez)

Daily parking at the SF State garage ranges from $5 for two-hour parking and $10 for all-day parking, but students believe the garage is not accessible.

“I just feel like the parking here isn’t fair, there’s only one or two-hour parking or you have to pay to park,” said Addison Rice, an SF State junior. “From personal experience, you have more than one class throughout the day so you can’t necessarily park in one or two-hour spots because classes go over that anyway and then you get charged stupid parking fees and it’s not worth it. It’s not fair.”

SF State is a commuter school where students don’t stay on campus for long. Several students have had issues with parking tickets and received hefty fines. 

“I just recently paid like $400 worth of parking tickets here at SF State because I was parked in my permit spot and they just said that the internet was down and so they literally didn’t bother to run my license plate where I have a permit,” Mayer said.

Street parking on Holloway Street has a limit of either thirty minutes or two hours, which only gives students roughly one short class session to keep their car parked. Park Merced parking only allows an hour of parking and is not enough time for students who have multiple classes.

“When I was at Park Merced, it was an hour parking and I was there for maybe an hour and 10 minutes because I was walking all the way across campus and I got a $90 parking ticket that I had to pay off,” Rice said.

For commuters that go to campus more than twice a week, the amount starts to accumulate to a higher price. On average, a commuter that parks four times a week at the garage for a 15-week semester would have to pay $600 for the entire semester.

“If you park in the lot here especially because of traffic, I am always running late to classes so I need to get to the closest spot and if you have multiple classes you have to pay for all-day parking,” said Alex Velazquez, an SF State junior. “Two hours is not enough, all day parking is 10 bucks and then I have to come four days a week, so that’s 40 bucks a week.”

Students have offered suggestions such as financial aid being increased due to the parking prices. Access and affordability have been at the top of the consensus for students talking about the parking garage, saying it is too far away from classes and too expensive. A 25 percent mandatory San Francisco parking tax was added in 2020 and further increased prices.

SF State Senior, Sajan Gurung, said he leaves 20 minutes earlier than he is accustomed to because of the parking situation. 

“I just come early for my class now, being prepared for the parking, because you never know,” Gurung said.

Vidal Drive is the only street near campus that allows commuters to park for four hours but it requires at least five to 10 minutes of walking to get to class.

“It is hectic and it makes me late to my class every week because there’s no parking in the garage and it is far from all my class and it is expensive,” said Jessica O’Gorman, an SF State senior. “Most of us are parked for more than two hours at a time.”

Parking tickets at SF State can range anywhere from $60 to $500, depending on the violation.

“Not ticketing people for hour or two-hour parking, or just do not even have hour or two parking and making the garage cheaper would make parking more accessible,” Rice said.

Taking into consideration other expenses, students would like a place to voice their suggestions for solutions. 

“They should just not ticket people for the hour parking, I think that would be a really good idea because you have to go in and out of class and disrupt your education and go pay for it,” Mayer said.

No changes have been made to the price of parking in six years.

“Parking permit prices has not been increased since 2017. Since 2017, parking fee has been $8 per day with the addition of parking tax effective in June of 2020,” said Joy Manaois, director for operations & finance for the Division of Campus Safety.

Accessibility is the number one cause for concern for students trying to park their cars in the garage. 

“To help make parking accessible to students, Parking offers a discounted semester parking permit for those who commute to campus for $500 ($400 for the permit and $100 parking tax,),” Manaois said. “This discounted semester permit costs the students $2.96 per day before parking tax compared to $10 for purchasing the daily permit, so Parking does make every effort to assist students in providing a discounted parking permit option.”

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About the Contributors
Photo of Arman Archouniani
Arman Archouniani, Sports Editor
Arman Archouniani (he/him) is the sports editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in media literacy. He was born and raised in Daly City and enjoys living in the area. As a kid, his dream was to become a professional athlete. Arman loves his local sports teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco 49ers, and the San Francisco Giants. He was previously the sports editor for The Skyline View at Skyline College. His dream now is to become a sports analyst for a major sports media company.
Photo of Dan Hernandez
Dan Hernandez, Visuals Editor
Dan Hernandez (he/him) is the Visuals Editor for Golden Gate Xpress, majoring in journalism and minoring in business administration. He is an award-winning multimedia journalist, applying his skills in both news reporting and press photography. He got his start in journalism at 15 years old as a staff writer for The Advocate at Contra Costa College before becoming editor-in-chief as a high school senior. Outside of journalism, he is probably camping on a road trip, playing water polo, riding his bike or dancing at concerts. He also goes by the nickname “Biscuit.”

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