Despite plans to the contrary, night and weekend parking will still be free at UCSB for the rest of the school year, but next year what was free will be subject to fees.
Last summer, a high-level committee recommended that, among other things, Chancellor Henry Yang institute night and weekend parking fees to offset the cost of new parking structures and delay increases to existing parking permits. The committee recommended that Yang implement the fees starting in Winter 2003.
In a message to the campus on Dec. 20, Yang said he would delay the new fees until July because it would give Transportation and Parking Services more time to prepare. He also said he recognizes “that night and weekend rates will have impacts on students, academic programs, intercollegiate athletics, arts and lectures, and the many visitors to our campus.”
Under the new fee structure, one-time night and weekend permits will cost $2 or can be purchased in month-long blocks for $10. People with existing parking permits will not have to pay more to park on campus at night or on weekends.
It would be wrong to allow free night and weekend parking, Director of Transportation and Parking Services Tom Roberts said, because that free parking forces people who park on campus during workdays to pay for the entire parking infrastructure.
“There’s hundreds and hundreds of people who park here to go to [American Youth Soccer Organization] games on the weekends. There are hundreds and sometimes thousands of people from the community at large who come on campus for Gauchos basketball. These people are paying nothing, but then you have this core group of ratepayers who are paying 100 percent of the cost.”
“We have to make the universe of people paying bigger so that this core group … doesn’t have to have its rates go up so high in the long term,” Roberts said. “Everybody’s got to pay something.”
Math Professor John Doner, who was a member of the now-disbanded Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking, said that on-campus construction means there has to be more money for parking.
“The era of low parking rates is behind us: As the campus has appropriated more and more surface parking areas for new construction – remember, the parking system doesn’t own any of the land on which their facilities are situated – we have been obliged to build and pay for expensive parking structures,” Doner said. “The daytime parkers are no longer willing to subsidize the others.”
The university expects the new fees to bring in “hundreds of thousands of dollars per year,” Roberts said, but was unable to provide a specific figure because “it’s hard to estimate what it will really be.”
On-campus parking will take a hit in the next few years as construction on existing parking lots reduces the number of spaces. Upcoming construction on the western side of campus will remove 850 spaces from around the Events Center, Roberts said. To reduce the impact on faculty and staff who commute to UCSB, the university plans to cut the number of spots available to students in the residence halls. Currently there are between 760-770 spots available to dorm residents but those will be reduced to 500 by 2005, with some cuts possible next year.
Residence Halls Association President Jacob Haik could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.