By Andrea Barrack
A hike in prices for parking permits have many Santa Clara students questioning university motives.
Students who park on-campus now pay $200 a year to park on school grounds, a 10 percent increase from the $180 permits last year.
According to Campus Safety Director Charles Arolla, the university raised the price $20 to pay for the increased cost of maintenance and to help pay off debt incurred from the maintenance and construction of the university’s current parking structures.
“Also, in the future when we’re building, we’re setting aside money now to build new facilities,” he said.
Since 2000, facilities workers have redone several campus lots and completed parking that accommodates residents of Casa Italiana.
Senior Katie Haggerty remembered a survey that was distributed throughout campus last year and asked students how much they would pay for parking permits.
“It was a lot of money. I mean, why would you say that you would pay that much… so they would raise the price?” Haggerty said.
This year the senior parks in the D lot under Sobrato and appreciates that her car is locked in a gated area and out of the sun.
“I thinks it’s worth it because I can park in the garage, but if I had to park anywhere where my car’s exposed, I wouldn’t do it,” Haggerty said.
Also new this year, freshmen are not allowed to park on campus unless they suffer a hardship. Arolla said the university initiated the policy because with so many freshmen, the lack of parking would impact campus events.
“We have limited resources,” said Matthew Duncan, assistant dean for student life.
The Office of Student Life, Housing and Residence Life, and Campus Safety decide which cases of economic or health hardships warrant a campus permit.
“If the person works in an area not accessible by public transportation then they would be eligible to park on campus,” Arolla said.
Even though freshmen parking has been limited, the university had to expand their parking areas to off-campus locations.
The university took a piece of unused property near the corner of Bellomy and Washington streets and created a reduced lot fee for 25 cars.
But students who live near campus are still having difficulty finding parking. Senior Ali Campot lives at 595 Alviso St., directly across the street from Benson.
“I’ve had to drive around for 15 minutes to find a parking spot — and I have a permit.”
Campot and her housemate Christine Knopf, purchased a permit issued from the city at the Santa Clara Police Station. The permit only costs $2 and allows them unlimited parking on their block within 100 feet of their house.
Permits issues by the city are limited to two per household, leaving three of their housemates’ cars tightly parked inside the driveway. At least five other girls sharing their duplex have cars as well.
“It’s really difficult to park on our block, especially on the weekdays. All the people are parking in the two hour parking because they’re going to school,” Knopf said.
Senior Jessicasaid that typically the police are strict when giving out tickets in two hour zones.
“You’ll literally see people running back from class to move their car before it gets ticketed,” said.Katie Haggerty did not buy a permit last year, because she did not have a car until winter quarter.
“When I got my car I parked on Mission Street, because it free and it’s really close. It’s completely open on one side of the street, but on the other side it’s four hour,” she said.
Non-student residents living near the university discuss the continuous parking struggle at the quarterly Neighborhood University Relations Committee meetings, moderated by the Santa Clara City Council.
“The reality is, there’s two sides to the coin. For permanent residences, the non-student population has gone to the city to seek assistance. From their perspective, it’s very frustrating when they invite people over to their house and people can’t park nearby their house, because of all the extra cars that students tend to generate,” Duncan said.
Some non-student residents paint the curbs red outside of their houses — without permission of the city — so students will not park there.
“People become very protective of space in front of their house,” Duncan said.
Arolla, who worked with the police force for 30 years, however, said the practice occurs infrequently and that most red zones are approved by a resolution, authorized by the city, and stored in a database. Arolla explained that the zones painted by residents are easily recognizable.
“Generally they don’t do as good a job,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duncan recommends students voice their parking problems to the city at NURC meetings.
“Issues that have been brought to NURC have been acted on. Students don’t show up to those meetings that often,” Duncan said.
He also advises students to look to the Associated Students of Santa Clara University as their voice to the city.
“If it’s an issue that students raise, then the university will do what it can. But in the end, it’s the students that have to raise this one.”
*Ã Ã Contact Andrea Barrack at (408) 554-4546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.