UCSD’s Parking Woes — Get Involved or Get Swindled


    By Alex Miller

    During my term representing undergraduate students on the
    Transportation Policy Committee, I found it to be one of the most frustrating
    and trying experiences as part of student government.

    I have sat on numerous committees and worked with
    administrators, faculty and staff on countless occasions, but have never had
    such trouble or felt so pessimistically about students’ position on an issue.

    Every time we would tried to make advancements we ran into
    one of two problems: Either we could not convince the faculty and staff members
    (who outnumbered us) to support proposals, or, the committee would reach a
    decision only to have it ignored by superior administration officials (an
    unfortunate side effect of being solely an “advisory” committee).

    Sadly, many of these issues could have been avoided if we
    had support from the student body, but every time we tried to reach out to the
    students and get them to support proposals, or even just voice their opinions,
    we would get almost no response.

    I don’t have to tell anyone that there are serious problems
    with parking and transportation here at UCSD. Probably everyone has heard the
    predictions of dramatic price increases, a great reduction in the number of
    available spaces and a generally worse situation — and unfortunately they’re
    all correct.

    Due to the natural limitations of parking and space
    available on campus, and the current rate of expansion of buildings and other
    infrastructure, we can expect decreases in the number of available parking
    spaces. Even worse, we are likely to lose the most convenient parking spots,
    such as the recently lost North Campus Lot, and become more dependent upon
    distant lots such as East and Regents Parking.

    So how do students go about improving the parking

    The answer is pretty simple — they need to make their voices

    One of the biggest reasons that preference is given to staff
    and faculty is that whenever something happens they immediately flood
    Transportation and Parking Services and their own supervisors’ e-mail inboxes
    with complaints. This pressure then leads T&PS to change its policies, even
    after they have been approved by TPC.

    Students, on the other hand, relegate themselves to whining
    on Facebook and not actually working with administrators or making their voices
    heard. Even when attempts are made to reach out to students (such as by holding
    forums) only a few students show up (a recent parking forum had a total of four
    undergraduates show up, less than the number of T&PS personnel present).
    Decisions are made by those who show up — if students want the situation to
    improve, they must make themselves heard.

    Now I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up and say that the
    parking situation will improve simply by sending a few e-mails.

    While it’s crucial for students to get involved, the fact is
    that the amount of space for parking is inherently limited — there is only so
    much free space on this campus, and that space is being increasingly taken by
    new buildings (such as North Campus Housing). The only solution to this problem
    is building parking structures which are extremely expensive (approximately $50
    million each).

    Therefore we are presented with three options: First, risk
    running out of parking spaces. Second, build numerous parking structures and
    see parking-permit prices rise to more than $1,000 per year. Or third, stop
    on-campus expansion (something that will obviously never happen).

    Unfortunately none of these options are very good choices —
    all will require great sacrifice on everyone’s part.

    There are so many problems with on-campus parking and
    unfortunately no easy solutions to the problem.

    The sad truth is that great sacrifices will have to be made
    in the coming years and due to students’ lack of involvement and participation
    they will almost certainly get the short end of the stick.

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