As the student body gets accustomed to the new parking pay stations that accompany the night and weekend parking policy that went into effect July 1, Transportation and Parking Services is keeping its eye on the transition to the new system.
The new policy, which charges the general public for night and weekend parking, brought in roughly $37,671 between July 1 and Sept. 30, not including bulk parking purchases. Director of Transportation and Parking Services Tom Roberts said students have claimed 5,091 parking permits since the new policy went into effect last summer. He could not give an exact number or an estimate of how many parking citations have been issued, though.
Roberts said the Mesa parking structure and Lot 16, both located next to Cheadle Hall, probably bring in the most money from night and weekend parking because of the recent evening events that have been happening in the Campbell Hall area. However, he said that might change now that basketball season has started and the Events Center has begun to pull in more evening patrons.
Right now, Transportation and Parking Services has seven full-time parking attendants to enforce parking regulations, including one for nights and weekends. Transportation and Parking Services is in the process of recruiting more parking attendants for nights and weekends and off-campus university housing lots at Francisco Torres residence hall and the Santa Ynez apartments, which often have problems with nonresidents taking up parking spaces, Roberts said.
The parking attendants work eight-hour shifts, occasionally having to work overtime on special event nights. Attendants go through the same hiring process that all university employees must go through, and they receive the same dental, health and retirement benefits, Roberts said.
Roberts said there is a common misconception that monies collected from parking revenue pay the salaries of those who enforce night and weekend parking. He said parking attendants’ salaries, about $35,000 a year depending on prior experience and the duration of their employment at the university, come from the money generated from parking citations. Revenue generated from parking passes goes towards upkeep of the lots. Under California law, any surplus from citation revenue goes to alternative transportation programs, Roberts said. These programs include Carpool, Vanpool and MTD services.
Roberts said people are not aware of the kind deeds parking attendants perform in addition to writing tickets.
“They rescue stranded motorists, jumpstart cars, they provide a measure of public safety out there on the lots. We’re out there, and we’re really the eyes and ears of what’s going on,” he said.
Even though parking fees do not pay the salaries of parking attendants, some members of the faculty are still concerned that fees might increase in the future. Mario Garcia, professor of history and Chicana and Chicano studies, was a member of the now dissolved Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking. He said he does not know what parking fees will be in the future, but faculty and staff who are concerned need to take more active roles in the decision-making process.
“I think others and I did something over the last two, three years,” he said. “It’s now time for other people. If they feel that it’s still a critical issue to address, then those people now have to surface.”