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Davis, California

Saturday, May 25, 2024

UC Davis Transportation Services introduces campus-wide parking changes

Changes include rate increases and the use of a new app, with some changes seeming to cause controversy in the West Village

 

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org 

Starting in fall quarter 2023, a series of parking changes has been rolled out by Transportation Services at both the UC Davis campus and UC Davis Health campus, including a switch from the Parkmobile app and a rise in prices for affiliates. 

Transportation Services announced the new prices for affiliate parking in an August newsletter. Affiliate prices for off-campus students and employees are now $5.10. The changes affect all of the UC Davis and UC Davis Health campus parking and even Transportation Services’ controlled parking in the West Village.

The increase in prices ensures that the obligations of the Transportation Services are met across campus, according to Shelby Slutzker, the engagement and marketing specialist for Transportation Services.

Because the department is predominately [funded] through parking revenue, raising rates will help Transportation Services continue to provide services to our commuters, address deferred maintenance from years past and improve campus mobility,” Slutzker said. 

These new rates come as the campus transitions from Parkmobile to AggiePark. 

AggiePark, the name given to the new parking system, is operated using the AMP mobile parking app. Transportation Services announced that Parkmobile payment would no longer be accepted starting Oct. 1, according to the August newsletter.

Slutzker said that the transition to the app allowed for more control over changes made to parking.

 “We’re not app developers, so we can’t necessarily change how it looks, but we can make a new zone if that’s helpful with [AMP],” Slutzker said. “I think I’ve heard this example from some of our higher-ups. It would be like you’re working on a presentation and the font is wrong, so you’d put it in a service ticket. It takes them sometimes weeks to respond and then it comes back and the fonts [are] better, but now the font size is wrong. Then you put it in again. And it was just — we had to rely on [Parkmobile] to make any of those quick changes.”

However, the changes to the prices of two-hour parking rates along the roads of both The Green and Sol at West Village on-campus apartments have impacted the residents of these areas.

Will Dunn, a fourth-year political science major and resident at The Green, spearheaded a petition to change the raised prices of the two-hour parking rates. The rates for two-hour parking increased to $6 every two hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Dunn. This parking had previously been free.

The university and Transportation Services work off a lease agreement with the private entities that operate The Green and Sol Apartments. This means that apartment parking is not controlled by the university; however, street parking is. 

“This change is largely impacting the visitors to the West Village,” Dunn said. “That’s the primary impact and we’re not trying to argue that it’s affecting the student’s ability to park, while that is an inconvenience. So, the main thing is that this is a high-density housing area… In West Village, we’re on the other side of the freeway, so there’s a unique nature inherent in the geography of the area that we’re built into…. We’re on campus in a strict technical sense, and we don’t have adjacent streets to park for visitors.”

The design of the West Village itself was the reason many were upset over the change, since two-hour parking makes up the entirety of street parking in the area, according to Dunn.

“We really focus on the fact that you can’t say, ‘Oh, now I have to have my mom park over on F Street and walk over here,’” Dunn said. “You can’t park outside my unit because it’s two-hour paid parking. There is no F Street because there’s fields in between us and the rest of the neighborhoods. They invented this whole neighborhood from scratch. As a consequence of that, they have a full monopoly over the street parking. So this isn’t a minor inconvenience, it’s an impossibility for visitors to be able to park anywhere else.”

Dunn started a Change.org petition, with flyers across The Green and Sol apartments to argue against the change. Comments on the page reflect the impact of this change on visitors.

I have family who [visit] all the time to see their grandson, so the parking situation is ridiculous,” one comment read. “The fact that they are limited to 2 hours and that they need to pay for that is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will get a ticket or not while they visit.

There were two meetings held between the group of concerned West Village residents, led by Dunn, and Transportation Services to discuss the negative impact and potential changes to the new prices. 

The reasoning given for the price change was to maintain the roads throughout the West Village, including potholes that have had to be repaired in the past, according to Dunn. 

“Within the context of the university’s transportation system, each campus is required to charge for parking for their faculty, staff, students and visitors,” Slutsky said. “In this one excerpt of another policy, in conformity with the university’s implementation of the 1960 master plan for higher education in California, [it] says that parking is offered as a fee-based service and operated as an auxiliary self-supporting enterprise.”

The first iteration of changes came when prices were reduced to one dollar every two hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

However, Dunn stated that the second meeting saw concerns brought up about how late-night enforcement may put people at risk if they’re requested to move their car at night or encouraged to visit the complex at later hours to avoid paying the parking fee. 

Due to these concerns, the current pricing is one dollar every two hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“There are many students who still find this whole thing outrageous and they’re right to feel that way,” Dunn said. “There’s also a lot of confusion. The university, they take so much money in tuition and the rent and the parking spots and everything. The least they can do is provide us with parking… The general sentiment is students didn’t like it being taken advantage of. People are still unhappy with the current state of things, but at least for the dollars that will be coming out of their family and their friends’ pockets, it’ll be reduced.”

Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org