Editorial: Parking can work if we work together

The University of La Verne is a small school with a large parking structure, and yet we still have parking problems. 

The parking problems could be alleviated, or at least lessened, if the city would loosen up some of its street parking restrictions, and both the city and the University did a better job of sharing. 

Not that we don’t appreciate the parking structure, which sits on D Street and Arrow Highway. The fact that it has 940 spaces, and that the University offers free permits to students who park in it, are positives.

The structure was erected nearly a decade ago at the urging of the city, so that downtown businesses and homes adjacent to the University wouldn’t be crowded out by commuter students parking in front of them, and potentially pushing out patrons. 

But the structure, at the southeast corner of campus, with its temperamental elevators and reputation for break-ins, is not a total solution.

“There’s always going to be some issues,” said Community Development Manager Eric Scherer, who is part of the Old Town La Verne Business Improvement District, which advises the City Council on these matters. 

Scherer said that as the University and businesses of Old Town La Verne expanded over the years, parking problems began to increase. 

“The University helps to support those businesses by having faculty and students that shop and eat and visit our businesses, so those are positive things,” Scherer said. 

And the parking structure, he noted, is free for students. 

But street parking should also be more available to students – who often commute to La Verne for night classes that last three hours – so they can park closer to their classroom buildings and more safely walk to class. 

The street parking spaces closest to University have 90-minute restrictions, and other constraints, such as lines between spaces, with punitive penalties – expensive tickets – for minor parking infractions. 

La Verne Police Sgt. Martin Weinreb conceded that the parking structure has not stopped ticketing in town. 

Ruben Ibarra, the University’s director of campus safety, said that in 2023, 592 parking citations on campus were written and that this year, 85 have been written so far. 

“The downfall is that a lot of students aren’t using the parking structure,” Weinrab said.

“They want to park closer to their class, which I completely understand,” Weinreb said, adding that restaurant owners on D Street still complain. “That’s basically the only pushback I’ve ever seen or heard of,” Weinreb said. 

“There’s always a complaint or two here or there,” Ibarra added.

The main reason that students opt to park on the street and forgo the parking structure is because students, understandably, prioritize their safety over the parking restrictions in place. 

Myah Peters, senior psychology major, said she has accumulated four parking tickets during the past year, because on many occasions she has opted to park in the street for safety and convenience. 

“I’m usually more inclined to park in the parking lot, because if I park on the street, I do have to worry about how long I’m parked there for, so it is a little bit more stressful,” Peters said.

These decisions cause anxiety.

Students should not have to pay such a penalty for prioritizing their safety and mental health. 

Following are some suggestions for how the whole situation can be improved. 

First, any and all restrictions on the parking structure should be removed, so that those working in downtown restaurants, along with their patrons, can also use the University’s parking structure. 

Second, the city should do away with the 90-minute, as well as three-hour, parking restrictions, for street spots in front of ULV buildings, so students and faculty can get to and from class safely. 

Finally, safety within the parking structure should be improved, with continuously working elevators and cameras, and increased patrolling of the entire structure. Perhaps those in the city charged with dolling out tickets could pitch in to help patrol the structure. 

Let’s not forget that La Verne students and employees are major contributors to the city’s economy. Why not work together to improve safety and parking for all?

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