Malfunctioning parking meters spur replacement

Installed machines allow for parking enforcement by Police Services


Roxana Amparo / The Advocate

Recently installed parking meters have replaced the old out of service yellow parking meters. Students may purchase daily passes for $3 through debit cards, Apple Pay and coins.

By Edwin Herrera, Advocate Staff

The recently installed parking meters in Contra Costa College’s parking lots could limit students’ ability to park for free now that purchasing a parking pass is required to park on campus.

The daily parking passes are $3  and can be purchased with a debit card, Apple Pay or with coins.

With the previous meters out of service for almost two semesters, students found a way to take advantage of the situation, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.

Many students decided not to pay for semester permits, avoiding citations, he said.

“I forgot to buy my permit on the first day of the spring semester and noticed the parking machine was down,” Jennifer Brooks, nursing major, said.

“So I left my car on the lot and didn’t get a ticket.

“I decided to do that all semester. I never got a ticket and didn’t buy a permit,” Brooks said.

King said the old meters were down due to low energy from the solar panels used to power them.

“(The meters) were getting worn out,” he said.

King said the solar panels have weakened over the years and now only work for roughly an hour and then shut off for the rest of the day.

He said there were other difficulties with the older malfunctioning parking meters so it was their time to “retire.”

King said he has been working at CCC for 10 years and the meters have been here longer than him. He said he estimates that they are 15 years old. 

During the last fall and spring semesters many of the muted yellow colored parking meters across campus were out of service.

But by the start of this 2016 fall semester students were able to purchase a daily parking pass with their debit card, coins or using Apple Pay.

Biotechnology major Lizette Hurtado said, “I guess since they are working now I don’t have an excuse (to not purchase a parking permit).”

One of the affected groups on campus is Police Services, King said.

He said CCC was the campus with the lowest number of citations issued compared to Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College.

He said it was due to either the meters not working or low parking enforcement from Police Aides on campus.

King said the parking rules were rarely enforced.

Although students were being issued citations, he witnessed cars parked on staff parking without consequence.

Hurtado said, “There were times that I would have to come (to the college) early to try to find parking.

“When I couldn’t find any I had to park outside of campus while others who didn’t took a spot (inside of campus parking lots).

“I feel like I wasted my money on a stupid (parking) sticker,” she said.

King said compensation for tickets issued while the parking meters were out of service will not given to students, but hopes parking tickets will be enforced.

Hurtado said, “I think it was unfair that students had to pay for parking permits while other students who didn’t buy a permit got to park free anywhere they liked.”

Michael Sandholm, a police aid, was not available for comment due to his hectic schedule.

But police aides are unable to comment on the department’s parking policies.