The debate over parking continued Monday in the UCen as the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking held a forum to get responses and input on campus parking problems. No students were among the approximately 20 audience members.
Chancellor Henry Yang appointed CSACP in November to deal with the problem of increasing demand and diminishing supply for on-campus parking. The committee will eventually make a recommendation to Yang on how to proceed. So far, it has issued draft recommendations that include charging for night and weekend parking, and increasing the daily parking rate to $7 a day beginning in July.
Following a presentation of the latest topics of discussion, CSACP Chair Gene Lucas opened up the floor for public debate on some of the parking proposals that the committee could recommend to the chancellor.
“We’re not done with the process yet,” Lucas said. “So you’re going to see a subset of recommendations that we’ll ultimately make.”
The committee is still deciding whether to adopt a policy whereby new academic buildings would have funds for replacement parking built into their budgets, where to derive the funds to finance alternative forms of transportation on campus and whether to adopt a new plan of differential rates.
Participants spent the most time debating the committee’s plan of creating a differential payment plan for parking including just two permit types: standard and premium. Parking lots would have standard and premium spaces and holders of the premium permit would pay more money – one possibility being $55 per month – to park in any available lot space. Those who purchase the standard permit, which would continue to be $35 per month, would be restricted to certain allotted spaces.
This would do away with the current differentiation of faculty, staff, commuter and residential student parking areas.
The CSACP is split on this issue.
“I think our plan in the immediate future for differential rates is to argue about it,” Lucas said.
History and Chicano studies professor Mario Garcia, who serves on the CSACP, opposes the differential rates plan and said he sees it as a way to raise parking fees without creating too much opposition. He said that the chancellor is using a “divide and conquer strategy” and that the availability of standard permit spaces will be decreased over time due to increased need for funds.
“Of course we need some additional spaces,” Garcia said. “But it should be done in a way that’s fair and just and not continuing to burden people.”
Parking and Transportation Committee member Monica Curry advocated the differential rates plan and said that it is a more democratic system than the existing parking policy.
“Where the differential rate scheme came from was not from the chancellor,” she said. “It was a brownstone movement among staff and students to say if we’re going to have differential parking they should pay a differential rate.”
Under the plan, Lucas said people who are willing to pay more for parking would generate the needed funds for the parking structures, without impacting those who are unable to pay more.
“We had a lot of people tell us, ‘Look … I’d be willing to pay a higher rate.’ So with differential rates we’re giving people who wanted to pay more an opportunity to do just that,” he said.
Some professors said funds for parking should be provided by the university rather than by parkers.
“Parking is just as much a resource that we need to work here as our restrooms and dining facilities. It’s part of the support structure for the campus,” electrical and computer engineering professor Behrooz Parhami said.
During the forum, participants also discussed implementing a “Park and Drive” program in which UCSB would purchase a lot where people could park and then be bused to campus.
The new director of Parking and Transportation Services, Tom Roberts, advocated “holistic” programs such as “Park and Drive,” which utilize both parking and public transportation to solve UCSB parking problems.