Fee increases are a lot like diarrhea. They’re both ugly, sometimes painful and most of us wish they never happened. Whether we like it or not, though, both serve a purpose.
The Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking wants to increase parking fees in order to generate the funds needed for a new parking structure where Lot 10 exists now and the money has to come from somewhere. The recommended increase means jacking up daytime fees to $7, as well as instating a night/weekend day fee of $2. They also want to offer a $10 a month weekend and night permit for students who wish to pay that way.
A daytime and weekend fee is inevitable; that alone makes it acceptable, or at the least tolerable. UCSB – like most other UC campuses – faces some nasty space problems and the creation of new structures would help alleviate some of those constraints. The only people who would feel the small pinch are those students, staff and faculty who don’t possess quarterly parking passes and those students in I.V. who find the trek to campus unbearable.
A nighttime fee is another matter.
Requiring students to shell out a small amount of cash is enough of a deterrent to keep them from parking on campus. This will force them to park further from their intended destination, usually in I.V., creating a variety of problems.
First, driving students to park in I.V. at night means placing them in potentially dangerous situations. Poorly lit streets, corners and walkways are enough to unnerve some of the bravest souls. While services such as the CSO exist for those of us who would feel uncomfortable walking through campus or I.V. at night, no one should have to feel completely dependent on another for their own safety.
The flood of students parking their cars off campus to avoid paying a fee or risking a ticket will cause headaches for many of those residents living on the edge of Isla Vista. Trying to find a spot for your car is hard enough without those people trying to get around $2 for a night permit. If you factor in everyone who shows up in the evening for sporting events or performances, I.V.’s already crowded streets will burst apart at the seams.
Nighttime permits also mean that someone needs to fill the parking kiosks on campus as well as drive around in one of those little white pick-up truck, dispensing for the entire night. Parking Services will have to dish out more money for employees, an act that doesn’t seem very cost effective when the number of people actually willing to pay for the permit seems so small.
The university needs to compromise with the students on this one. They’re asking us to pay for a structure whose intended users will be faculty, staff and graduate students. They can have some money through a daytime and weekend fee, but asking students to pay at night is unreasonable and unfair.