With a student body numbering about 30,500, California State University, Sacramento is like a small city. And like any city, it has its challenges.
Parking is a pressure point on the CSUS campus, and it wasn't too difficult to find students with strong opinions.
Abraham Sandoval, a Spanish major, commutes from Woodland each day, and usually leaves home between 7 and 7:30 a.m. to be sure of finding a parking place in time to make it to class.
Abdulla Almosleh, studying mechanical engineering, usually arrives on campus an hour or more before his classes start to be sure of finding a place and giving himself time to walk if it's far from his first class.
Sandoval, Almosleh, and other students were frustrated that the university started construction on projects such as expansion of the student union building before addressing the parking issue.
Construction is slated to begin on a parking garage later this month, according to university officials. The new facility will house 1,750 vehicles. The only catch is that it's being built on an existing parking lot, putting it out of commission until construction is completed, which is expected to be in time for the spring 2018 semester.
Between construction on the parking garage and another project that will block access to a parking lot, about 1,200 on-campus parking spaces will be temporarily out-sourced, said Elisa Smith, director of News and Communications for CSUS. In exchange for a half-price permit, students can park in the Ramona lot, which will be served by a shuttle running every 15 minutes.
"Is it ideal? No," Smith said, adding that the relocation is temporary; after the new garage opens, the campuses parking woes will be assuaged.
She said campus officials are reaching out to students to 'get the word out' on the parking situation. Students are also urged to consider using public transportation, bicycling or walking, whenever possible.
Smith noted that about 7,000 students live close enough to make walking or cycling feasible.
Tim Mulvey, a 32-year-old computer engineering student, rides his bike from Fair Oaks a couple of times a week, but more for health benefits than to beat the parking rush. Because he arrives early, usually by 6:30 a.m., when he drives he doesn't have too much trouble quickly finding a spot convenient to where he wants to be on campus.
But by 10 a.m., parking is scarce and frustrations run high, several students said.
When Maya Coleman, a 19-year-old philosophy student, started school, she left her car behind in Southern California, and looked for an apartment close by. The place she finally chose offered a courtesy shuttle for students.
The shuttle isn't ideal, but considering the parking horror stories she hears from classmates, she isn't too put out. Like other students, she feels the administration has planned the school's parking and transportation logistics poorly.
"It's a commuter school, which is ironic," she said. "Most people drive here and there's no parking."