Skyline students engage in unsafe predatory parking practices


Courtesy of Skyline College

The colored indicated areas are parking lots students forget that are available.

Skyline drivers use aggressive parking techniques in the morning to try and secure a space.

Like a cheetah stalking its prey, Skyline drivers can be seen lying in wait in over-crowded parking lots where they pounce on an open spot as soon as it’s available.

This is a common sight in the mornings, especially in crowded lots like lot F, G and M. Drivers will stop in a lane, put on their hazard lights and wait until a spot in front of them opens up. Chief Public Safety Officer for Skyline College, Jim Vangele, helped shed some light on the legalities of the practice.

“It’s called standing in a vehicle,” said Chief Vangele. Standing is a lesser degree of parking where someone puts their car in park but doesn’t turn off the engine or get out.

When it comes to enforcing parking policies, Chief Vangele said, “We enforce the California Vehicle Code at Skyline and all three district campuses.”

As for whether it is legal, Chief Vangele said, “It’s actually not a violation unless the person who is stopped in the drive area of the lane… leave[s] their vehicle unattended.” But it does constitute a violation if the driver blocks another car from exiting or blocks an ambulance, firetruck or police car.

It’s also a violation if the driver leaves their vehicle or if they are parked around the corner of a building that has a blind spot that could cause an accident.

If a driver is found blocking the parking lane in order to grab a space closest to the building, campus public safety officers will “come up with a lighter, friendly approach and give them [the driver] an opportunity to comply,” said Chief Vangele. If the driver does not cooperate, they will receive a citation and could be written up for “parking outside of an established stall” or “parking in a location not designated for parking,” the latter of which could incur a $43 fine.

So in certain instances, the practice is legal but it may fall into an ethical grey area. Some Skyline students think predatory parking is fine while others think that drivers should just keep moving.

Beitong Li, an international student, carpools with her friends. She said she has noticed predatory parking in lots L and M. When asked what she thought about it, Li said, “It’s fair. Some people come first.” She said her friends do it because “they may have class in 10 minutes so they park their car as soon as possible so they aren’t late.”

“I do it,” Skyline student Iran Dominguez said. “I feel like it’s better because if you stay there, you can find parking faster than going around [the parking lot.]”

Another Skyline student, Mauriene Hilario, agrees with the practice but for a different reason. She says the lots by building 19 (Pacific Heights) are always crowded and that “I would do the same thing too when there is no parking because it wastes less gas.”

However, some students look at this particular parking approach less favorably. “Predatory parking is kind of annoying,” Skyline student Aaron Aquino said. “If they’re double parked, they should just keep going.”

Peter Chao, another Skyline student, agreed that drivers that park in the lanes create a hazard because they block other drivers from getting around them.

Chief Vangele has some suggestions that could alleviate a few of the parking issues on campus. He suggests parking in lot A, C or on Chilton Lane, which can only be accessed from Sharp Park Road.

All of these available parking areas are indicated on the campus map.

If parking on campus is too big of an issue for drivers, there is always the option to carpool with students in your area. This will save gas, money and make the trip to and from school a little more fun.

Aquino floated the idea of valet parking for Skyline but said it would be “a lot of paperwork” and “a long process to try and initiate it.” Only time will tell what policies, if any, Skyline will enact to alleviate parking issues.