Beginning Fall Quarter 2021, UC San Diego Transportation Services modified its system for parking permits for both students and staff. In lieu of the previously-available monthly, quarterly, and annual parking permit options, consecutive days permits will instead be the main form of parking permits available for students.
In an email to The UCSD Guardian, Associate Director of University Communications Leslie Sepuka explained that the new consecutive days permit will allow Tritons to have a more flexible permit of any length from 30 to 365 days.
Students have multiple permit options available: SR (student resident) permits for students living on campus, D (discount) permits, and B permits for graduate students. First and second-year students will only be allowed to make daily payments and purchase D parking permits continuing the first and second year parking restrictions introduced in 2020. Students can choose instead to buy daily parking permits instead of monthly permits.
Depending on the parking space, prices can vary. Daily parking at P386/Gliderport is $3; $4 for a daily D permit; $4.50 for a daily S or SR permit; and $5 for a B permit. For motorcycles, the parking is $1.50, a lower amount from the $4 permit that was in place pre-pandemic.
These permits are available on the ParkMobile app which UCSD has used as a way to process payments for parking. Students without a phone can also pay by calling ParkMobile at (877)-727-5932, utilizing the UCSD parking portal, and by using physical parking stations in parking lots and structures.
When asked as to why UCSD decided to use a new form of parking permits, Sepuka stated that before the pandemic, permits were limited to help students have their needed parking spots, but it meant often having vacant spots.
“Quarterly S [commuter student] permits were capped to ensure that if students purchased S parking, they would be able to find a space,” Sepuka said. “While that achieved the desired predictability, it also meant that there were times of day and days of the week when significant pockets of S parking went unused.”
Before students returned back to campus, Transportation Services spoke with the Student Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) and determined that daily parking would better serve the greatest possible number of students.
On UCSD Transportation’s Flexible Parking webpage, students can find the full list of parking zones that they are eligible to use. If the total fee is greater than $6, at most $65, that means that the student is trying to access a parking zone they’re not eligible for.
Student reactions to the new parking policy have been mixed. In an interview with The Guardian, John Muir College first year transfer student Claudia Carmona approved of the change and said that daily parking permits make commuting more convenient and less expensive.
“Now that some classes are on Zoom…I only go to campus twice a week,” Carmona said. “It doesn’t make sense to pay [for] a full month of parking.”
Other students argued that the main problem with parking remains the lack of accessible parking spaces for commuting and resident students. Samuel Luo, a Sixth College junior, said that the changes disincentivize parking on campus.
“I don’t really like the changes as it forces you to park on campus less often than you might like, and you’ll have to utilize buses and scooters to get to classes,” Luo said. “Commuters might even have to prep an hour or more ahead to get to class on time.”
Thurgood Marshall College junior Byrant Cameron echoed Luo’s sentiments about having to prep longer to get to class.
“If I do not arrive at least one hour before my 8:00 classes, I risk having to park in the Whole Foods/Ralph’s parking lot,” Cameron said. “I have had to do this twice already. That is a mile from campus.”
While student parking spaces fill up quickly, students have noticed that B and A parking spots reserved for faculty and graduate students often go empty.
“I’ve seen an entire floor of B-spots empty while students just circle the structure looking for spots like vultures,” noted Carmona. “It is very upsetting.”
In a response to a lack of available student parking spots, UCSD Transportation Services announced in an email on Friday, October 1 that new parking spots were available for commuter students.
“Starting in week two, commuter students will find nearly 100 new S parking spots on Hopkins Parking Structure Level 2 and another 70 new S parking spots in parking lot P304,” the statement read.
With these new parking permits, students now face both the pros and cons of flexible parking. To read more about these policies, please refer to the UCSD Transportation website.
Photo taken by Patrick Lazo for The UCSD Guardian