For those of you parking on campus next year, pay attention. This is what you need to know to work your way through the recommendations of the advisory committee on parking.
First, the recommendations refer to “employees.” This only refers to full-time university employees, not student employees who work at UCen Catering, Financial Aid, Nicoletti’s, the library, Ortega, Office of Student Life, Kerr Hall, Campbell Hall, Pulse or any other student position on campus.
Secondly, there is only parking available for 13 percent of students in residence halls. The rest who need parking avoid the $330 “B” lot rate by parking in I.V. Of course, when phase I of the I.V. redesign is implemented and permits are required to park in I.V., residents may be forced to seek “B” permits. However, the parking advisory committee has no plans to increase “B” lot spaces, even after the opening of 900 beds in Manzanita Village. Instead, they will “bring us in line” with other UCs, reducing parking in “B” lots to 5 percent or less. Only one resident in 200 will have access to his personal transportation, so I wonder: How many faculty and staff would like to not be able to park at home?
Thirdly, the committee believes that the parking needs of the university were exaggerated. Bull. If you exclude the 10,000 students living in Isla Vista and within two miles of campus who cannot obtain anything but daily permits and 87 percent of the roughly 4,000 students on campus, then the truth is they’re building lots for a few commuters and people who work here.
So, let’s get down to the night and weekend thing. Fourteen thousand students can’t buy permits because of their zip codes. Now penalize those students at night and on weekends because they haven’t bought a permit.
A full-time campus employee on campus 45 hours per week, 10 weeks per quarter, equals 450 parking hours minimum per quarter. He pays $110. That works out to 24.4 cents per hour for staff, faculty and administration. If he’s here more than 45 hours a week, the hourly rate goes down.
But a student employee working 30 hours a week on campus has to buy a “C” permit. He also pays $110 per quarter for 30 hours a week, 10 weeks, 300 hours. His hourly parking rate is 37 cents an hour, or 12 cents an hour more than a full-time worker. And a student working at the library 10 hours a week buying a daily permit twice a week pays $1 an hour. And it’s worse for student commuters, who would have to be taking 60 units a quarter to be in class 45 hours a week.
Students are being blamed for the parking problem because they aren’t buying permits even though three-fourths of them can’t. Daytime users who claim they are subsidizing night and weekend parking aren’t subsidizing anyone, but are bring subsidized because no one else around here is paying 24 cents an hour or less for parking.
I have some solutions to offer. First, undergrads shot themselves in the foot when they voted against all lock-in fees. If they hadn’t, they could have done what the grad students did and passed a lock-in fee that would have given them night and weekend parking without paying for permits. We should do all we can to pass a lock-in fee the first minute we can.
We need to consider redoing the system instead of living with the one we’re with. Tracking actual parking time and charging accordingly for it wouldn’t be that hard. If residential dining halls can track four or five thousand student meals a day to make charges to BARC, then a similar system could track everyone for parking. Install parking booths like the ones in parking garages. Instead of taking tickets, students could use Access cards.
To be fair, the parking committee has indicated that it has received funding for just such a program, but only for some of the campus’ many spaces. Afterward, when I asked if funding for new spaces would be lost under such a plan, I was told that it had actually been implemented at the University of Wisconsin. And what happened there? Well, revenues actually went up.
Lisa Smith is a senior history and CCS literature major.