During public forum at last night’s Associated Students Legislative Council meeting, speaker Errin Briggs outlined the county’s plan to remedy overcrowding on the streets of Isla Vista.
As the Program Manager for the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency, Briggs and his team seek to implement the Night-Time Only Pilot Parking Program, which would ultimately charge residents for late-night parking permits that would grant them priority spots. According to Briggs, revenue generated through the program would be used to provide additional parking or support alternative transportation within the community.
The proposition gives non-commuters precedence over those who live outside the immediate area, Briggs said.
“A lot of people who do not live in the community are parking in the streets of the community,” Briggs said. “Students who live on campus park their cars in Isla Vista for a long period of time without using them, and students and staff who commute … just leave their cars because they cannot find parking during the day.”
According to Briggs, the parking problem worsens each year. To address this, the proposal would allow both nonresidents and community members to park in I.V. during the day but would ticket cars without permits parked between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m.
“If you live close to campus, in the middle of the afternoon, 95 percent of the available space is already taken,” Briggs said. “So if you come home at 2 p.m., what are the chances you are going to find parking?”
Past measures, such as the installation of parking meters in 2004, aimed to curb the crowdedness but prompted an appeal from the Surfrider Foundation’s I.V. Chapter in 2006.
Briggs said he intends to solicit the opinions of average residents to strengthen his model.
“I’ve been reaching out to pretty much every formal group, and a lot of families not represented by formal groups, so I’ve been working with the 3rd District’s office,” Briggs said. “We will be passing out project descriptions to anyone who will take them.”
However, Off-campus Representative Dariush Banihashemi was less optimistic about the program’s likely outcome.
“This seems like another program that is going to waste a lot of people’s time — [and] funds,” Banihashemi said. “Even if people need to buy permits, it’s just going to be as crowded since everybody is going to get the permits. The issue isn’t even parking since most people in I.V. don’t even need their cars.”
Although some council members voiced concerns about the plan’s potential impact on the community, the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency has yet to determine how exactly the program would be administered and enforced.
Briggs said a nominal parking fee would be collected once annually but should not present a large financial burden, even for students with rising academic costs.
“If you are willing to pay for a car, the $40 or $50 for the payment of this program is really … the price of a tank of gas,” Briggs said.
For additional questions about the program, e-mail Errin Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.