Neighborhoods near Fresno City College are looking forward to some relief from the deluge of cars that overflow daily from the school’s parking lots and crowd onto their tree-lined streets.
“It is just getting progressively worse,” said homeowner Geri Bradley, who has lived across the street from Fresno City for over 40 years.
Bradley, whose home doesn’t have a driveway, says there are days she can’t even park in front of her own house, or anywhere else nearby.
“It doesn’t matter that my husband is invalid and we need a place for him to park out front,” Bradley said. “Yesterday, the lawn guy couldn’t get in because this was all full.”
Five Level Structure Proposed
Now that State Center trustees approved spending $15 million Tuesday night to build a five-level parking structure on the central Fresno campus, Bradley has hopes of reclaiming her curb.
The proposed 1,000 stall structure would be built near the current district office near Blackstone and Weldon avenues. The new facility would replace two existing surface parking lots.
Funding will come from Measure C, the district’s $485 million bond measure passed by voters in 2016.
While Fresno City College currently has 22,000 students enrolled, the campus has only about 3,000 parking stalls. As a result, students parallel park on surrounding streets like McKinley and Van Ness. Students also hunt for open curb space in nearby neighborhoods.
That frustrates both area residents and students.
District Has Tried Other Solutions
Jacqueline Martin, in her second year at Fresno City College, says she’s had to search for as long as 45 minutes to find an open spot on or off campus.
“I used to have to get up and leave an extra hour early just for parking, and I still had to wait 45 minutes so now I don’t even drive,” Martin said. These days, she takes the bus.
The district has tried a number of strategies over the years to help reduce parking demand, such as providing Martin and other students with free monthly passes on Fresno Area Express. But it hasn’t made much of a dent in the parking overload.
Completion Planned by 2022
The district is pushing to return to trustees with a design for the parking structure by December 2019, with construction completed by 2022.
To expedite the process, SCCCD is using a contracting approach which allows the district to hire one entity to design and construct the project. The “design-build” method is expected to cut the project cost nearly in half from $30 million to $15 million. It also should reduce completion time by close to a year, said Christine Miktarian, vice chancellor of operations and information systems for the district.
But the district has to move fast. State legislation allowing for design-build projects expires in January 2020. While there’s an effort to renew the law, there’s no certainty that will happen.
“That is why we are trying to rush this through and get our contract awarded by December,” Miktarian said.
“We are working towards the assumption that it will expire at the end of the year.”