More than 1,000 parking spots will vanish over the next three years, and UCSB planning committees have their hands full trying to find parking space for existing and upcoming students, staff and faculty.
UCSB’s Academic Senate met Thursday to review data collected by the Committee on Admissions and Enrollment. Gene Lucas, chair of the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking, presented information pertaining to the growing parking problem on campus, as buildings are being constructed on space that had been used for parking.
“When the campus was built originally there was a significant amount of open parking,” he said.
Upcoming construction is expected to eliminate about 1,167 spaces by 2005. The problem of disappearing spaces is magnified by increasingly larger freshman classes due to even larger applicant pools. According to Chancellor Henry Yang, UCSB received 35,000 applicants for incoming freshmen – a 2.4 percent increase. More freshman applications were received this year than any other year in the past.
The panel examined solutions for impacted parking at other UC campuses and considered the pros and cons of each. Parking structures were found to take up less open space, a critical resource for growing campuses. Structured parking construction, however, runs a bill five times greater than new open-space parking solutions, Lucas said.
Finding a steady source of funding is also difficult. UC policy does not appropriate state money for use in augmenting the campus’s parking budgets.
A change in the policy that prevents state funding for parking was introduced as one of many solutions during the meeting, but would mandate a lengthy and well-coordinated multi-campus effort. In addition, funds allocated to parking would then compete with those currently going to capital and operational budgets, possibly diverting funding from academic buildings or other uses.
Other potential revenue sources included charging for night and weekend parking and differential rates depending on lot and proximity. Both share heavy enforcement costs, however, and pose a safety issue for those then forced to walk or ride their bikes to campus at night.
Another option discussed at the meeting was to institute a replacement parking requirement for all new buildings, although construction funds for the buildings would suffer with this approach, Lucas said.
“If we were to impose this requirement, one would have to do fundraising in the private sector for state-funded buildings,” he said. “We need new buildings. We’re still playing catch-up from the enrollment increases on this campus in the ’80s.”
The committee is also considering tighter restrictions on freshman parking, which would free more space for faculty, staff and commuting students. Freshman computer science major Scott Hogge said UCSB attractiveness to incoming freshmen would suffer, and the distance to on-campus students’ parking lots is already too great.
“It’s a bitch getting out there as it is,” he said. “If they restrict it even more they’re telling incoming freshmen there’s no way to have a car on campus.”
Single and two-story buildings take up what used to be open space without providing as much useful space as taller buildings, Lucas said. Although he acknowledged the option to rebuild the two-story on-campus residence halls in an effort to conserve useful space, Lucas said doing so would result in lost revenue from students turned away during construction, in addition to the already incurred debt from previous renovations of the buildings.
The Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking will hold two public forums to further discuss alternatives and solicit responses. The first will be held in the Engineering II Pavilion on Friday from 12-2, and the second will be held in the UCen Flying A Room on Monday from 12-2.