With the Halloween weekend only two days away, UCSB officials are warning students that the university will be out in full strength to enforce the campus’s parking policies during the holiday.
More than 40 Transportation & Parking Services (TPS) staffers and 28 Community Service Organization (CSO) officers are scheduled to patrol on-campus parking lots to issue tickets to vehicles that violate the restricted on-campus parking policy, TPS Director Tom Roberts said. The staffers will patrol the lots in pairs beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing throughout the night. They will be carrying bar code scanners, which will allow them to read the permits placed in the windshields of a large number of vehicles in a short amount of time.
“We can walk thousands of cars in an hour,” he said.
Starting on Friday and lasting until next Monday morning, vehicles parked in university-owned lots between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning will be required to have special Halloween permits. A vehicle found without a valid permit will be towed, and the final cost of reclaiming it could total more than $1,000, Roberts said. The department plans to have eight tow trucks on campus during the restricted times, ready to tow violators. Roberts said he has heard some students say that TPS would be unable to enforce the restricted parking policy.
“My goal is for no one to test this,” he said. “My goal is for people to see the tow trucks and not try it.”
Night and weekend parking permits purchased from on-campus vending machines will not be valid at night during the holiday weekend. But drivers parking on campus during the day between 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. will still be able to use weekend passes without being fined. Permit holders can freely come and go from their parking lot at any time.
TPS plans to concentrate on-campus Halloween parking into the Mesa parking structure and Lot 16, near Campbell Hall, Roberts said. If those two areas become full, TPS will open another lot. The remaining lots will be chained off at night, but some will be re-opened during the day to allow for regular short-term weekend parking.
“We’re not going through chaining all of the lots to just re-open them on Saturday and Sunday,” Roberts said. “There will be a limited number of lots open over the weekend.”
Roberts warned that TPS would charge all violators $500 in parking fines, and the cost of reclaiming vehicles from the impound lot could push the total bill to over $1,000. Car-owners whose cars are towed would also have to wait until Monday morning before they could pick their cars up from the impound yard.
“I started hearing the rumors [from students] going around that we weren’t serious, and I don’t want any of their friends with $1,000 in fees,” he said.
Vehicle owners living in residential halls who already have permanent parking permits do not need the special passes, Roberts said. But UCSB students who live in Isla Vista and want to leave their cars on campus throughout the Halloween weekend can register for the special permits, free of charge, at TPS’s website.
Roberts said that when students sign up for the pass, TPS checks the vehicle registration information they submit against a Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. Unlike the normal overnight parking permits purchased from the vending machines on campus, the Halloween pass contains a barcode that ties the credential to a specific student and vehicle.
“We’re checking the registered owner status for everybody requesting a permit,” Roberts said. “So, if you put it in your buddy’s car, its not going to match the DMV record.”
Vehicles found using a parking pass that does not belong to its owner will also be towed.
Roberts said the rigid bar-coded permit system is not meant to distress students and that the university does not want to tow away any vehicles.
“But I want to dispel any rumors that this is a bluff, and make sure that they understand that if they give that permit to anyone else to use, the consequences are real,” he said.
After registering for Halloween passes online, students may pick them up at the TPS booth in front of the UCen today and Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., where they will be assigned a specific lot in which to park, Roberts said.
So far, about 1,700 students have requested permits, but only about 200 have come to retrieve their passes, Roberts said. With only two days left before Halloween weekend, he said the lines to claim permits could become very long.
“If people want to speed up the line, they can really expedite their time in line if they bring their vehicle registration with them,” Roberts said.
Students who request a permit from TPS’s website on Friday will be required to bring their vehicle registration information to the booth because there will not be enough time to process their application electronically, he said.
A fence has also been erected around Storke Field to prevent out-of-town visitors from parking on the field, Roberts said. The parking lot adjacent to Storke Field, Lot 38, is restricted throughout the weekend to cars belonging to students living on campus, he said, and the service road entrance into the lot next to Harder Stadium will be monitored by TPS staff and CSO officers.
“If they park in Lot 38 lot during the day, they will be towed because it’s for residential students to park,” Roberts said.
The parking lots at Francisco Torres Residence Hall will also be barracked to only allow in students who live in the building, he said.
Roberts said the feedback from students retrieving their passes from the booth has been positive.
“It’s a complicated process, but at the end of the day, we’re creating a safe place for students, and we’ve had a lot of students say ‘thank you’ because they had their car out there last year and they were vandalized,” he said.