Twenty years from now, the stacked parking and run-down houses of Isla Vista may only be a distant memory.
Opticos Design – the Berkeley-based firm hired to design a new plan for Isla Vista – presented its ideas on reshaping and revitalizing I.V. on Thursday at the Project Area Committee meeting. The firm proposed several strategies aimed to relieve housing, parking and transportation shortages.
Phase one of the improvements would entail the addition of apartments on top of businesses on Pardall Road, the installation of parking meters and a $20-30 annual parking permit for I.V., said Jeff Tumlin, Opticos Design’s transportation expert and one of the presenters.
Tumlin said the permit is an attempt to drive people out of I.V.’s limited parking spaces.
“[I.V.’s] population density is over twice that of San Francisco,” Tumlin said. “In order to get rid of the hundreds of UCSB commuters that park throughout the streets, we will implement a very simple parking permit for residents.”
Many I.V. residents have voiced opposition to the solution. A phone survey conducted by Santa Barbara County showed many students and faculty park in I.V. and walk to UCSB to avoid the annual $300 fee for on-campus parking.
The parking permits would also affect short-term I.V. visitors. Guests would not be able to park on residential streets without a daily pass, which would cost about the same as the $5 day pass on campus.
In addition to parking congestion, the proposal addresses I.V.’s housing shortage. Opticos Design suggested that building codes be rewritten in order to increase the number of stories allowed per structure throughout I.V. The plan also includes provisions to meet transportation needs for a growing population and further reduce parking congestion. Tumlin said he believes greater access to local public transportation is crucial in this regard.
“We want to put everyone in I.V. within a quarter mile walking distance from transportation,” he said.
The plan also includes roundabouts instead of stop signs in order to give bicyclists the right of way.
“We’d like to try and get rid of as many stop signs as possible in the east-west direction,” Tumlin said. “The bikes aren’t stopping there and they’re not going to.”
Opticos Design Principal Dan Parolek said there is great potential for improvement in I.V.’s look and feel.
“We really feel that there are strategies that can be taken to improve the character and the quality of Isla Vista,” he said. “The characteristics of the community show a framework of open space and we’ve looked at ways to link these spaces.”