SB County Planning Commission meeting to address questionable survey claiming 15 percent increase in parking availability, gather accurate data regarding state of parking

Parking_by Nexus File Photo-1

For most students and residents of Isla Vista, parking is frustrating and highly unconducive due to spots that are too small, unclearly marked, not secure or, in general, too few. Nexus File Photo

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will be hosting a community meeting at Embarcadero Hall this Monday to examine the current condition of Isla Vista street parking.

The meeting is a follow up to a previous gathering regarding parking in I.V. after community members expressed doubt about an I.V. parking survey which found a 15 percent increase in parking space availability. The Commission made it a goal to better address the concerns of the public in the upcoming meeting, which will include a presentation by staff from the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development and Santa Barbara County Public Works to discuss proposed parking strategies mentioned in the Isla Vista Master Plan.

Fifth District SB County Planning and Development Commissioner Daniel Blough said he was doubtful of the survey results.

“I don’t know when they did the survey, but the information was not accurate,” Blough said.

According to fourth-year mathematics major Brent Roth, the parking situation in I.V. is not conducive to students or residents, and parking spots are too small and not secure.

“The parking situation in Isla Vista is just terrible, I can’t stress that enough,” Roth said. “The biggest issue is space and ensuring that your car is safe.”
Fourth-year environmental studies major Lino Martinez said he has not seen a recent increase in parking.

“The increase in 15 percent doesn’t seem like it represents actually what is occurring,” Martinez said.

According to Second District SB County Planning and Development Commissioner Cecilia Brown, the duty of the Planning Commission is to obtain accurate information regarding the current state of parking in I.V. with help from Isla Vista residents.

“The purpose of the meeting is to get current pertinent information about the parking situation and to get greater community input,” Brown said.

Brown said she is glad there will be a meeting where the public can participate.

“They need to participate, they need to come and tell the county what their experience is,” Brown said. “Their input is valuable.”

County of SB Planning and Development Associate Planner Katie Hentrich said community input from the meeting this Monday will be discussed at the next Committee meeting.

“The County is seeking feedback on the proposed parking strategies to survey parking availability,” Hentrich said.

Hentrich said both the Planning and Development and the Public Work staff will present various solutions to the parking situation in I.V.

“The proposed parking strategies include an on-street parking monitoring and reporting system to assess on-street parking capacity and vacancy rates in the community,” Hentrich said.

If available parking is found to be below an increase of 15 percent then more surveys will be taken to find new strategies such as a permit system, according to Hentrich.

“Ultimately, if data results indicate vacancy rates remain low, a permit parking program would be implemented,” Hentrich said.

Hentrich said she encourages community members to attend the meeting.

“This meeting is a good opportunity for permanent residents and students to participate in the planning process,” Hentrich said.

A version of this story appeared on page 4 of the Thursday, September 24, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.