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Parking problems were preventable

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The parking nightmare we are currently caught up in was inevitable. University administrators saw it, even the students saw it, but nothing substantial was done to prevent it. With the University continously accepting more students than it can accommodate in a city that, shall we say, likes its peace and quiet, the new parking regulations, which prohibit street parking on most streets walking distance from ULV, has exacerbated the already problematic parking situation and strained the University-city relationship.

The “No Parking” signs on residential streets within a three-block radius of the University went up Monday.

Apparently city residents, who didn’t like the noise, litter and crowding of college life spilling onto their streets, pressured the City Council to approve the stringent parking measure, which calls for resident permit-only parking on most streets surrounding the school.

University administrators had tried to resolve this, sort of, by asking students and staff to use a remote lot with shuttle service.

But students and faculty, particularly those who had paid substantially for on-campus parking permits, objected to this make-shift solution.

University officials should have anticipated this one of many facilities issues of overcrowding and prevented it with a real solution like an on-campus parking structure. (Or not accepting students it could not accommodate.)

Remember the recent spike in parking permits this year? In the 2011-2012 academic year, annual parking permits cost approximately $30; this academic year, the price went up to $95.

It is hard to tell if this hefty increase was an attempt to make room for parking, assuming perhaps there may be some who cannot afford it, or an attempt to take advantage of students, knowing they will buy the parking permit anyway, only to learn later they were paying for lot space that didn’t really exist.

Some students, who had seen the increased number of traditional undergraduates, protested the more than 100 percent price increase for on-campus parking permits, going an entire semester without buying a parking permit because they knew the permit did not promise a space.

Upperclassmen can remember when the spots that line D Street next to the new Vista La Verne dorm used to be all-day free parking. That could have helped: on-campus free spaces the city couldn’t take away

The change from all-day parking in those spots to three-hour parking actually came a few years ago after the University requested that the spots be made 3-hour limit spaces.

University administrators are still saying the A street remote lot with shuttle service is a solution.

Yes, it may be more convenient – at this point – than circling around hoping a space will open up.

The University is wondering why students will not take advantage of the generous offer of free remote parking.

Well, the thing is students already paid for parking permits, along with some faculty, so unless the University intends to refund them, please forgive them for developing a “stubborn” behavior regarding the remote lot.

What is confusing, as far as the University permits go, is why the school did not think to take a count of the number of spaces available in ULV lots and sell only appropriate number of passes for students and faculty that need to be close to campus.

It would have allowed students time to set-up carpools, make arrangements for transportation or even consider using the shuttle parking lot rather than waste both time and gas driving around searching for any parking spots available on campus.

With a parking pass on their windshield many do not want to park in the shuttle lot because the pass purchased back in the summer was supposed to pay for on-campus space.

Although these problems and complaints sound minor compared to other catastrophes people are facing, this issue can take a toll on students who are on a tight budget. Moreover there is a sense that a trust between the University, students and faculty has been breached.

We were charged for something we are not really getting. We may indeed use the free remote lot, but we and others who did buy permits cannot help but feel we have been cheated or at least short-changed.

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