Editorial

    The Transportation and Parking Committee has recommended increases in permit fees and parking violation fines to cover the costs for new parking structures. The proposals once again demonstrate that the administration is unwilling to view students as anything but cash cows for subsidizing university projects.

    A cursory glance at the proposals may not even rankle the average inquisitor, however. Starting next year, “”S”” permits would cost an additional $4 per month — not an exorbitant rise in the grand scheme of things. Holders of “”A”” and “”B”” permits — faculty and staff, respectively — will foot the bill for parking projects through a proportional increase in permit prices.

    Students may be relieved to discover that such increases are going to help fund the construction of new parking structures, including one in Revelle College and one near RIMAC Arena. Parking facilities are maintained without the help of state funds, so increases in the cost of parking services will always be necessary to meet the demands of new parking projects.

    Nevertheless, there is little hope that students will actually benefit from the proposed fee increases — on the contrary, there is much indication that students will be used as warm bodies with pocketbooks whose presence on campus is only useful insofar as it may help shoulder financial burdens.

    The opening of the Gilman Drive and Pangea structures has done virtually nothing to ameliorate the West Campus parking conundrum. Swaths of “”A”” spaces lie vacant in the structures at peak demand hours, while “”S”” space areas remain at full capacity. Student parking is of no concern to an administration whose major interests are catering to top-dollar researchers and parking them in “”A”” spots as close as possible to their laboratories.

    It would be ludicrous to hope that the construction of a few more parking structures every couple of years will actually impact the quality of student parking, particularly when the campus population will jump by more than 800 new students per year. Even with the construction of new structures, “”S”” permit holders will continue to feel the disparity between rising permit costs and plummeting parking opportunities on West Campus.

    This is to say nothing of the proposed increase in parking violation fines.

    For parking in a marked spot without the proper permit, the charge would nearly double, going from $21 to $40. For parking in an expired meter spot, the penalty will increase by $14, culminating in a $35 fine. “”A”” permit holders do not accrue fines such as these; they are aimed at students who try to park illegally in (often available) “”A”” and “”B”” spots. These fines will shift a great portion of the financial burden for parking projects onto the shoulders of students and confused visitors who may haplessly come to park in a nondesignated space.

    The difficulty of finding an amicable solution for UCSD’s parking woes should not be swept under the rug. Administrators should not couch the burden of parking costs within broad-based, draconian penalties that unevenly affect students. If administrators, faculty and staff stand to reap the most benefits from improvements to UCSD’s parking infrastructure, then aiming penalties at student violations is unfair and regressive.

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