As an Isla Vista resident and a future statistician, I feel it is my duty to share my thoughts regarding the study referred to in the “Parking Research Drives I.V. Planners” (Daily Nexus, May 11) article. According to the article, a study was conducted on a Tuesday from 7 a.m to 4 p.m in May 2002 to “track the root of the parking problem in I.V.” I will address the results first from a statistical point of view and later as a member of the community.

First of all, the study was conducted on a Tuesday. The results of a given day cannot be expected to correspond to a weekly trend. Since one of the apparent reasons for the parking situation is non-Isla Vista residents parking here to go to school, simple common sense would suffice to show that a study of the parking situation must include weekend parking data. What is the parking availability in Saturdays and Sundays, when most people do not have to go to UCSB? This would allow one to visualize more strongly the significance of the non-I.V. resident students’ factor on parking availability. Second, the study was conducted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. A study on parking availability at night would help to infer the effect of the “high number of undergrads with cars” on parking availability. Once again, common sense would suffice to have one realize that if the interest is in solving the parking situation in I.V., one must study the parking situation when residents are coming home, not just when they are in school, as nonresidents are. Third, were the drivers surveyed? After all, just because they’re coming into Isla Vista doesn’t mean that they are not I.V. residents. They could be coming from, say, their girlfriend’s house, or from work, or an early a.m. surf session. Without the drivers being questioned, you cannot distinguish between the effects of the factors at hand.

Now, my remarks as an I.V. resident. I think most I.V residents will agree that unless you live a couple of blocks from school, finding a parking space during the day in Isla Vista is actually not that bad at all. By experience, I can say that the worst time of the day parking-wise in Isla Vista is at night.

As a graduate student, I have found myself coming back from school after midnight and having to drive around for at least 15 minutes to find a parking space. This would lead me to believe that the major reason for the parking problem in I.V. is not nonresidents, but the amount of I.V. residents that have a car. If this is the case – and it obviously is – then a parking permit will not solve the problem. The way the study results were presented actually reminds me of the way politicians refer to statistical studies to promote their campaign. They may say something like, “auto theft crimes have steadily dropped in the last six months,” but they won’t mention the fact that car theft last year was at its highest point in the last 15 years. Actually, I just made up this little fact to make a point: you can “bend” statistics in a way to make them “seem” to point to a result that in reality you cannot infer from the study. This is what the I.V. study seems to be doing. A parking permit isn’t the answer. Think about how you would feel after paying for the yearly parking permit and still not being able to find a parking space at night. Well, that’s what’s going to happen.

It seems that the only result of a parking permit would be to cause yet another dent in students’ pockets – remember that we already have the tuition increases. So I have my own solution: How about not allowing any I.V. resident under 25 to have a car in Isla Vista? I mean, at least many of us I.V. residents would be in shape for riding our bikes or walking to school. Nah, this possibility would be just another solution that goes against common sense.

Another solution? How about eliminating some red zones and monitoring abandoned cars in the area? This could provide surprising results.

Roberto Rivera is a graduate student in statistics.