Drive or ride: It’s uphill both ways

    Four years ago, Earl Warren College senior Christopher Apuyan spent less than $350 on his parking permit. Now, he pays $504 and takes a five-minute shuttle ride to set foot on campus.

    “The Regents parking lot spaces are convenient because they’re always there, but it sucks that they’re so far,” Apuyan said.

    Student parking rates increased this year from $53 per month to $56, according to Director of Transportation and Parking Services Gregory M. Snee.

    “The price of the permits is based on the projected revenue that these permits will generate to cover the operating expenses, as well as construction and debt on construction,” Snee said.

    Parking services has made plans to accommodate the growing student population by using this projected revenue on construction projects.

    “A third major parking structure is currently under construction,” Snee said. “This structure should be open by the fall of 2007, and will provide an additional 1,400-plus parking spaces.”

    The Transportation Policy Committee has not yet made a decision on the number of spots that will be reserved for student parking in that structure, according to Snee.

    To accommodate the rising student needs for campus transportation, Shuttle Services have added an extra bus that runs during peak hours of 7 a.m. to noon, according to Shuttle Services Manager Frank Buono. The increase in shuttle lines has not improved the time it takes for transportation to arrive, according to Warren sophomore Anthony Maeayag, who frequently parks in east campus. Maeayag said he waits up to 10 minutes for the shuttle to arrive before taking a five-minute ride to his parking lot.

    Poor fnding inhibits the improvement of the shuttle system, according to the A.S. representative to TPC Josh Martino.

    “With only parking fees and a few outside sources of income it is difficult to increase the program’s funding,” Martino said. “The lack of funds may contribute to the shuttle’s inefficiency.”

    Students have also turned to the option of parking off campus and using Cityshuttle, which has increased the number of its stops, and now serves the Lebon and Regents Road area with 27 inbound and outbound stops, according to Martino.

    However, Revelle College senior Arabelle Aguirre said she still waits up to 20 minutes with a crowd of other students for a Cityshuttle to arrive.

    “I try to leave my house an hour in advance just to make sure I can get to class in time,” Aguirre said. “[The shuttle] comes more often now, but still not consistently.”

    Along with financial concerns, public transportation efficiency continues to be a dilemma in the face of a growing commuter population, according to Martino.

    “I have seen a Cityshuttle pass by completely full, only to be followed by one that was nearly empty,” Martino said. “Cityshuttle program usage has increased tremendously over the past two years, jumping to over 7,000 riders per day, on average.”

    Even with parking permits, some commuter students have trouble finding any parking on campus.

    “After two years of trying, I don’t even bother to look on campus anymore,” Apuyan said.

    Based on surveys taken during the first two weeks of this quarter, east campus student spaces, or “S” spots, remain relatively unused; there are more than 1,000 vacant spots even during peak times, Snee said. The total number of student parking spaces has remained relatively unchanged over the past year, but removed spots from lots closer to campus were replaced at a different location, Snee said.

    “We did add student spaces [in] east campus during the summer of 2004 to provide for the projected loss of ‘S’ spaces [in] the west campus via the reallocation that took place in January 2005,” he said.

    Parking in east campus requires a bumpy shuttle ride and a tiresome hike to class, Apuyan said. Until construction begins on the Hopkins Parking Structure, parking services should consider creating spots that accommodate both UCSD students and staff, Maeayag said.

    — Additional reporting by Shannon Eliot

    Senior Staff Writer

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