UCLA Disagrees With PT Editor
September, 2006Editor, Parking Today:
We were dismayed to find that some of the information included about UCLA in the June 2006 issue of Parking Today (PT) magazine was incorrect, or at the very least, incomplete. First, in the PT blog on page 33, it states that in the graduate student housing project at UCLA a student pays one price and gets electricity, parking, cable, etc. This is incorrect: parking is not bundled into the monthly rent. Second, in the article entitled "Parking Cheating at UCLA," you may not be aware that the student point system for parking was vetted just this past year by an independent consultant via student focus groups and institutional interviews with various campus departments on behalf of their students. Although multiple alternative parking allocation strategies were presented to the campus, the overwhelming majority of both students and administrators preferred to retain a need-based point system for student parking. Hence, the current system is being retained based on the desires of the campus community, not as implied because the campus could not "figure out" another way to allocate student parking. (FYI: Cheating is not condoned: one in five students parked are audited, and those unable to substantiate information provided on their parking application have the right to park revoked for up to four years and are reported to the Dean of Students.) I am enclosing a copy of the report prepared by the external consultant so that you can see there is more to the story than you were heretofore aware of. As to the issue of market-driven pricing, UCLA already has several pay-on-foot areas with differential hourly pricing based on time of day, and is in the process of converting additional permit parking spaces to this use. It might also interest you to know that UCLA has a voluntary cap on both the number of parking spaces to be built and. the number of vehicle trips generated by the campus, and a vigorous alternative transportation program which has garnered multiple awards, allowing the campus to remain well under these caps.
Renee A. Fortier, Director
UCLA Transportation Services
I have researched my comments and Ms Fortier is correct, parking is unbundled at Weyburn Terrace - Mea Culpa. However if you reread my blog, the purpose was to show that bundling (as with electricity and rent) is in fact unfair.
However I do understand that UCLA Weyburn Terrace students pay $70 a month for parking, which is far below the debt service on the money borrowed to finance the spaces - They built one parking space for every bed in the development, as a result many of the (unbundled) parking spaces remain empty. Many students who live there simply don't have cars.
As for the point system and the consultant's report, my question of Ms. Fornier is "Did your consultant actually ask about using a variable pricing system as discussed in the paper referenced in the blog?"
Although I'm certain Ms. Fornier believes that there is little or no cheating at UCLA, staff and students I have interviewed on campus say it's still rampant. Auditors simply cannot tell whether a student lives at the parent's home or in an apartment near campus.
As for the voluntary cap on both the number of parking spaces and the number of trips, I understand that the City of Los Angeles requires both of them. I do congratulate the UCLA Department of Transportation in their ability to reach the mandated goals.