The UC Regents approved an almost $13 million loan Wednesday for a new parking structure at UCSB.
The ambitious, multitiered structure, dubbed “Campus Parking Structure 2,” will provide approximately 600 additional spaces at a cost of over $16 million and is to be built on lot 10 near the Engineering II building. This project is one of the recommendations on a yet to be released report from a high-profile UCSB committee.
Other measures in the report by the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking include the introduction of night and weekend parking fees, further restrictions on parking for students living on campus and an increase in the daily parking permit rate.
“There is a significant level of frustration and anger on campus over parking issues,” the report states. “This suggests that the campus administration has previously failed to adequately and effectively inform and consult with its constituencies on university goals, policies, procedures, rates and financing.”
Birth of a Committee
In fall 2001, irate faculty and staff members flooded Chancellor Henry Yang’s office with phone calls, faxes and e-mails. They were angry over rumors of a rise in the cost of their parking permits. In response, Yang formed an advisory committee to absorb these complaints and create a plan for on-campus parking in the future. The makeup of the committee reflected the source of the complaints – 10 of the 14 positions on the committee were filled by faculty, staff and administration representatives. The other four places were reserved for elected members of student government.
Last year, the committee held several public forums, which were largely ignored by the student body.
The committee’s report was completed and submitted to Yang on Aug. 12, 2002. The report is currently being circulated for comment among UCSB administrators, including vice chancellors and program directors, before the final recommendations are released to the public and Yang makes his final decision.
Night and Weekend Rates
The committee recommended the introduction of night and weekend parking fees of $10 per month and $2 per night or weekend day to be implemented as soon as possible for the 2002-03 academic year.
This would only apply to people who do not already hold a monthly, quarterly or annual permit.
This recommendation is based on the committee’s position that “the current situation is wrong. … [P]ersons purchasing monthly and daily permits should not be subsidizing the construction, maintenance and operation of lots for those parking on these lots at night and on weekends,” the report states.
Both students and groups performing public functions – such as Arts & Lectures, athletics and the faculty club – objected to the implementation of night and weekend parking fees due to financial and safety concerns.
The committee recognized student objections in the report and said it supports the students’ concerns that additional safety measures would be needed. “However, these are a general campus concern, not specifically a parking concern, nor would they be funded with parking fees,” the report states.
Documents obtained by the Daily Nexus state that student members responded to the committee’s stance on safety by communicating their concerns to Yang, who allocated $50,000 for safety improvements to the campus for this coming academic year. The chancellor has also asked Vice Chancellor George Pernsteiner to work with campus groups to develop a list of proposed safety improvements, and has asked Vice Chancellor Michael Young and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Alan Wyner to develop an expanded educational safety program for students, staff and faculty.
The committee has recommended that the chancellor immediately implement policies discouraging students from bringing cars to UCSB and to continue a program of restricting on-campus residence hall parking.
The committee recommended limited residence hall parking to no more than 500 spaces by 2003-04.
“As parking supply becomes more difficult and costly to provide, steps should be taken to reduce the fraction of the inventory allocated to residence hall parking at UCSB,” the report states. “Improved alternative transportation access, including improved MTD service, will be a key element of implementing this recommendation so that residence hall students have compelling choices other than personal automobiles to satisfy their transportation needs.”
All but one other UC campus have instituted a policy of prohibiting freshmen from bringing cars to campus.
The committee recommended an increase in the daily parking permit rate from $5 per day to $7 per day for the 2002-03 academic year.
“The daily rate has not been increased from its current level since 1992-93, despite a threefold increase in the monthly rate over the same time period. The committee believes it is time to increase the daily rates to bring them into alignment with the monthly permit rates,” the report states.
The monthly permit rate, primarily used by faculty and staff, is recommended to remain at $35 per month for the 2002-03 academic year.
The committee recommended making the Transportation Alternatives Program financially independent of Parking Services in order to focus on alternative forms of transportation rather than single-occupant vehicles.
“Transportation alternatives are not plentiful or well developed on this campus because the campus has not adequately developed them,” the report states.
The committee would like T.A.P. to increase the number of people using other forms of transportation by further developing existing programs, adopting the use of in-vehicle parking meters for infrequent single-occupant drivers.
Also, the committee suggests the administration take a more proactive role in improving service with MTD and implementing scheduling initiatives, including alternative scheduling of classes.
“The committee believes that UCSB not only will rely increasingly on T.A.P. to provide improved access to campus, but that it should,” the report states.
The committee also recommended that the administration implement “Scheduling Initiatives,” such as alternative scheduling of classes, staff flextime and increased use of telecommuting, as an alternative for staff.
“We recommend that the senior administration play a proactive role in correcting this situation,” the report states. “It is a solution with little cost and significant potential, and has an added potential benefit of increasing staff morale and productivity.”