Be careful what you wish for – it just might turn around and bite you in the ass.
Two weeks ago, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a revised version of the Isla Vista parking plan that addresses many of the concerns I.V. residents have voiced over the course of the plan’s development.
The original plan aimed to free up parking spaces in I.V. both by discouraging residents from bringing their cars and by preventing commuters and out-of-towners from using I.V. as a free alternative to parking on campus. For many months, however, angry opposition to the proposed permit’s $195 price tag appeared at town meetings, pitching ideas geared toward lowering what seemed like an exorbitant price for a parking spot that was, after all, only theoretically existent.
But in the midst of all the outrage, members of the community may have lost sight of one of the permit’s original intents – to deter students from bringing their cars to I.V. in the first place.
With the cost of the permit lowered significantly, students will be much more willing to, albeit grumpily, shell out the money necessary to park on the streets of Isla Vista. Sure, paying less is nice and all, but is the price of the permit still high enough to convince enough students to say “no, thank you” to the luxury of having a car in I.V.?
While parts of the revised plan, such as the installation of parking meters in I.V.’s commercial district and the maintenance of coastal access parking, contribute to the plan’s overall effectiveness, the newly lowered cost of a parking permit raises the question of whether the plan still packs the punch it once had to accomplish its objectives.
With the likelihood that the majority of I.V. residents will pay for the parking permit, as well as the availability of fairly cheap temporary guest permits to commuters and out-of-towners alike, the plan serves only to have us paying for a problem that, though a nuisance, was at the very least free to its sufferers. In other words, we’re back to square one – give or take 150 bucks.
The plan’s revisions prove that enough community input can and does make a difference in the way local policy is established. Voices were heard, changes were made and the plan’s opposers are probably smiling at a job well-done. But if you had a bodyguard, would you pay him to kick you in the balls? We didn’t think so.