In preparation for a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors hearing, community representatives and members of Associated Students met Thursday to come up with ideas on how to alter or delay the proposed Isla Vista parking permit plan.
The meeting, held in the Graduate Student Association Lounge, is the second of its kind and attracted nearly a dozen people from A.S. Environmental Affairs Board, I.V. Surfrider, and the Project Area Committee/General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC).
The group discussed alterations to the plan including the establishment of an alternative transportation program to decrease local reliance on cars, the lifting of permit restrictions during summer and winter periods when parking is not as scarce, and lowering the cost of permits. In addition, participants discussed allowing the purchase of a monthly permit instead of only an annual or quarterly permit, and of creating an I.V. parking district to ensure funds generated from locally issued parking violation fines stay within the community.
Members of the group said they plan to organize these ideas and present them at the board of supervisors meeting May 18, at which the board will reach a final decision on the parking permit proposal. The meeting is open to the public.
“We’re going to give [the board] an ultimatum,” said Scott Bull, of I.V. Surfrider and the Shoreline Preservation Fund. “If they don’t support these changes then we don’t support the plan.”
The plan, as approved by the PAC/GPAC earlier this month, would establish a residential parking permit program throughout Isla Vista. Permits would cost an annual fee of $125 for cars registered in the Santa Barbara County and $195 for cars not registered in the county. Non-I.V. residents would be required to purchase a guest permit that would cost $3 per day for the first 15 permits issued and $7 per day for each guest permit purchased after that.
“We need to tweak what’s on the table,” PAC/GPAC member Bryan Brown said.
Bull said enough community opposition could influence the board of supervisors.
“If the board of supervisors realized that the whole community is against this plan and saw 50 of us standing in front of the building with signs and news cameras, there is no way it will pass,” Bull said.
The plan also includes the installation of parking meters on Pardall Road and the Embarcadero Loop to free up spaces in front of downtown businesses.
“I want to see I.V. move away from a car culture,” senior physics major Kamron Sockoloe said.
The group discussed an alternative transportation program in which buses or shuttles would provide service every 15 minutes to and from campus, Calle Real, downtown Santa Barbara and the Camino Real Marketplace.
Another idea discussed was to try to delay the board’s decision regarding the parking plan until next spring.
“The plan has been pushed way too fast,” Bull said. “We just got the details only a month and a half ago.”
Bull said that if the program is delayed, the county could increase enforcement of existing parking restrictions in the meantime, which would perhaps improve the parking situation in I.V. to a point where no parking permit plan would be needed.
“Nobody knows that you can’t leave your car in a space for five days,” said Cervin Morris, A.S. president-elect. “Are there any signs up?”
EAB member Ryan Little said the parking plan should not be implemented in the summer and during Winter Break, since parking is not a problem during these times.
Brown said a way to increase parking capacity in several locations is by installing staggered parking spots on the wider streets in I.V., like Sabado Tarde Road. These painted spots would be at a 45-degree angle and be able to provide more parking per area, he said.
PAC/GPAC member Chandler Briggs said staggered parking would also serve as a safety precaution to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from speeding cars.
“The wider the street the faster people drive.” Briggs said.