Out of town party revelers coming to UCSB for Halloween this year will not find much welcome as the university gears up for the holiday celebration by imposing more restrictive parking policies and increasing police presence both on campus and in Isla Vista.
Members of the UCSB Major Events Committee met Tuesday afternoon to discuss Halloween preparations. The committee’s members include representatives from Transportation and Parking Services (TPS), Housing and Residential Services (HRS), the Office of Student Life, as well as local law enforcement agencies at the university, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Members of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and Associated Students were also at the meeting.
The committee outlined a message to students encouraging them to restrict the celebration to a local level. The committee hopes the message will be fulfilled, in part by plans to restrict on-campus parking after 5 p.m. during the Halloween weekend to only UCSB faculty and students.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 and lasting until the following Monday at 7 a.m., only vehicles with special parking permits will be allowed to park in university-owned lots. Regularly issued student night and weekend parking permits will not be valid through the Halloween weekend. TPS director Tom Roberts said signs informing commuters of the special permits would be posted on parking permit vending machines, and vehicles without valid permits will be towed. He said the university plans to have six to eight tow trucks on campus during the weekend ready to remove unauthorized vehicles.
“There will be a number of tow trucks around, so if people choose to ignore the signs, they won’t be able to for long,” Roberts said.
The tow trucks will be placed in areas where they are visible to the public with the intent to act as a deterrent to non-local drivers, Roberts said.
“The idea is not to tow anyone,” he said.
TPS said that those who wish to move their vehicles on campus for the Halloween weekend, including faculty, students living in residence halls with cars and students living in Isla Vista, can apply for permits online at the department’s website. Applicants can pick up their passes, at no cost, at the customer service booth in the UCen courtyard starting Monday, Oct. 25 through Friday Oct. 29 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“We really are there to create a safe harbor for students’ cars,” Roberts said.
So far, there have been about 400 permit applications, Roberts said. Although some parking lots will be closed during the Halloween weekend, the specific lots designated to be shut down have not been determined, and the department is waiting to see the demand for on-campus parking before making a decision.
“We don’t know which lots yet, but we’ll probably consolidate it into the Mesa parking structure,” Roberts said.
Santa Barbara City College students living in I.V. will not be allowed to leave their cars on campus, said Caroline Buford, associate dean of students at UCSB.
“We’re not [providing guest parking] because the decision was made to not facilitate parking for this non-event,” she said.
With the availability of on-campus parking narrowed, people from out of town may try to park in Goleta, especially in the Camino Real Marketplace, UCSB Academic Senate Chair Walter Yuen said. UCSB is working with local business owners and city leaders on the possible impact, he said. Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) plans on running normal routes out of Isla Vista, including its regular trip to-and-from the Camino Real Marketplace, so long as the CHP deems MTD travel to be safe during Halloween weekend.
Yuen said the university also plans to post fliers and buy advertisements in other local newspapers to inform plaza merchants of the possible increase in parking demand.
In addition to the parking restrictions, HRS Judicial Affairs Coordinator Joyce Ester said students living in residence halls will not be allowed to have guests stay during the Halloween weekend.
Residents who violate the no-guest policy will have to appear before the HRS Judicial Review Board, which would determine their penalties.
Ester also said HRS is working with UC Police Dept. to increase security at some residential buildings.
“We’ll be working with law enforcement to look at Francisco Torres and Manzanita Village because those two were the ones we were worried about,” she said.
UCPD Public Information Officer Mark Signa, who was spoken to after the meeting, said the department plans to have increased bike and foot patrols at FT and Manzanita Village residence halls over the weekend. He said law enforcement officers would patrol both inside and around the perimeter of the residence halls.
“Those areas are adjacent to Isla Vista and are more prone to have visitors and outside the community show up in those areas, or walk through those areas,” he said. “So to keep those areas safe for students, we’re increased bike patrols and foot patrolling.”
While UCPD and Campus Service Organization members will patrol the entire university throughout the Halloween weekend, residence halls near the eastern entrance to campus, including Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel and San Nicholas, will not receive increased patrolling, Sign said.
“Because most of the festivities are in Isla Vista that’s not where the major concern is,” he said. “[The eastern entrance to campus] won’t have any parking available and it’s really not a walking area,”
Signa also said UCPD has been hosting presentations at residential halls in an attempt to educate students living on-campus about safety during the holiday celebrations.
In the meeting, UCPD Captain Mike Foster said additional police forces from UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UCLA and UC San Diego would be in I.V. for Halloween.
Along with a higher police presence in I.V., people coming into or leaving the college community may be subject to sobriety checkpoints set up the Santa Barbara California Highway Patrol (CHP). Commander Cliff Williams said CHP plans to setup at least two sobriety checkpoints but their locations will only be revealed as Halloween closely approaches.
“The CHP will be out in force,” he said. “It should be no secret that the CHP and Sheriff’s department will have sobriety checkpoints.”
CHP made 11 DUI arrests last Halloween, Williams said, and the checkpoints are meant to ensure the safety of drivers
“The purpose of the sobriety checkpoints, believe it or not, is not to catch people, but to be a deterrent,” he said.
Williams also said CHP has contingency plans in place if the need to shutdown access to I.V. arises. But Foster said the plan has never been executed.
“This plan has been in place for 15 years, and we’ve never had to use it,” Foster said.
Even with the tougher parking policies and increased law enforcement presence, Yuen said the university does not intend to spoil the Halloween fun for UCSB students.
“We understand the students want to party, and have the right to party,” he said. “We want to keep it local and safe for the campus community.”