Efforts by UCSB to curb the number of out-of-town visitor parking in campus lots over the recent Halloween weekend resulted in several dozen cars being towed, with several hundred vehicle owners receiving citations.
Acting Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Donna Carpenter said 35 vehicles were towed from university-owned parking lots, and about 300 other vehicles were issued $35 citations. Fifteen of the cars towed were parked on the main campus, while the remaining 20 were hauled off from various residence halls. Carpenter said the smaller number of law enforcement officers available to tow a vehicle caused the discrepancy between the amount of vehicles towed and those issued citations.
“There were numerous cars marked to be towed, but police officers were very busy in I.V. and weren’t able to authorize the tower,” Carpenter said.
While parking attendees are allowed to write citations, at UCSB, only officers from the UC Police Dept. are authorized to a tow a vehicle in violation of campus parking policies, UCPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Mark Signa said. But Signa said the smaller police force patrolling the parking lots tried to be as fair as possible.
“There could have been a lot more cars towed, but [police officers] used discretion, as far as if they could tell if it was a student or faculty member that was working on campus or was on campus,” he said.
The university’s Halloween preparations this year included an embargo against nighttime parking for some vehicles during the holiday weekend. Throughout the three days, only automobiles with special Halloween permits, residential permits and faculty permits, were allowed to park in university-owned lots after 5 p.m. The measure was an attempt discourage out of town revelers from coming to Isla Vista for Halloween celebrations.
Eight UCPD officers were assigned to work on campus each night during the Halloween weekend, Signa said. Two were specifically assigned to enforce the university’s policy of towing parking violators, while the other six patrolled the campus and assisted in other tasks when they were needed, he said.
“Towing is very important, but we don’t want to neglect campus,” Signa said. “We’re looking at ways to reallocate resources more effectively next year.”
The campus stayed relatively unharmed during Halloween weekend, Carpenter said.
“I have to tell you, I was here both Saturday morning and Sunday morning, and the campus wasn’t trashed at all,” she said.
Carpenter said as far as she knows, UCSB students did not own the cars towed from on-campus lots.
“We’re assuming they’re out-of-towners because we’ve allowed students to park on campus with the special permits,” she said.
The perimeter of Storke Field and the dirt lot in front of the Santa Ynez Apartments were also fenced off to discourage people from parking at the locations.
“The fencing really helped, and also the signage – we had very clear signage – and I think that really helped,” Carpenter said.
Six tow trucks from local companies were on hand Friday night, ready to remove parking violators, Carpenter said. Seven tow trucks were on campus the following Saturday, and four on the following Sunday. More than 40 UCSB Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) employees roamed university-owned parking lots over the Halloween weekend.
“It was a comprehensive plan and it was staffed accordingly,” Carpenter said.
TPS offered UCSB students the opportunity of leaving their automobiles on campus during the Halloween weekend to avoid any damage or vandalism to their vehicles. The department allowed students to sign up for the special Halloween parking permits through its Web site, and in order to qualify for a pass, students had to submit their vehicle registration information to TPS through the Web site.
The information provided by students was then checked against a DMV database to ensure the automobile belonged to either the student or their parents, not an out-of-town guest. After the check, the passes were distributed to students during the week leading up to the holiday.
Carpenter said TPS received 2,582 Halloween parking permit applications, and 1,433 passes were distributed to students.
According to its Web site, students had to register at least 24 hours before attempting to retrieve their permits to allow enough time for verification of their vehicle registration information.
Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Buford said the restricted parking policy helped to protect students’ vehicles from being vandalized.
“Our students felt that they had a place to safely park their cars,” she said.
Signa said overall, it seemed the lack of available parking limited the amount of out-of-town guests.
“There were still people from the outside area, but there were far fewer people [parking on campus] this year compared to last year,” he said.