The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Transportation Alternatives Group discusses parking solutions

The Transportation Alternatives Group held its first meeting Friday to discuss different parking options in and around City College.

Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, organized the meeting. Staff members, students and multiple Santa Barbara city representatives including Metropolitan Transit District manager Sherrie Fisher, attended the discussion.

Over the past few weeks, faculty has exchanged multiple e-mails debating possible solutions for the lack of campus parking. Students and staff came together at the transportation meeting to discuss those ideas face to face.

After a general overview of the problem, the near 30 in attendance broke into four small groups to discuss potential transportation solutions including:

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  • Charge Fees, requiring faculty and staff to purchase parking permits and creating different costs for specific parking zones.
  • Bike stations with lockers on campus, serving as an incentive to bike while keeping belongings safe.
  • Expand overall parking, which would include a purposed new parking garage.
  • Restricting student access, calling for the construction of an automatic gate in faculty lots.
  • SBCC bus, creating a transportation system designed for City College students and staff only.
  • Expanding communication about alternatives, which would increase incentives to carpool through opportunities such as the Smart Ride App.
  • Changing course offering, creating more online or hybrid classes and spreading out peak class hours Monday through Thursday.
  • Valet parking, allowing for faculty and student vehicles to be parked at an off campus location.
  • Public bicycles, which would allow for faculty and students to park off campus and bike to City College.
  • Expanding to more satellite campuses, these locations would administer entry-level classes creating less traffic in and around campus.

Every semester City College distributes roughly 11,000 faculty and student parking permits. The campus has a total of 2,500 parking spaces.

Environmental Studies Professor Dr. Adam Green alluded to a bigger consequence to the parking problem.

“We often focus on parking, but the real problem is that there are too many cars,” said Green. “Transportation to and from campus is our college’s biggest environmental impact by far.”

Next week City College will be conducting their annual traffic study, which not only includes vehicles, but also traffic coming from public transportation.

“Of the 8 million annual [bus] riders, 2 million travel from Isla Vista to SBCC,” said transit district manager Sherrie Fisher. “Last year alone MTD busses had to deny students access to the bus 1,000 times because of over-crowding.”

She continued by mentioning that the city recently signed an approval for metropolitan transit to circulate more buses amongst city bus lines.

Santa Barbara city representatives at the meeting stated that the challenge of adding more parking spaces at City College would mean more trips to and from campus, which would continue to congest city streets.

The group will meet three more times in the coming months to discuss further transportation solutions. They hope to bring understanding as well as a solution to City College’s rapidly growing parking problem.

The next meeting is on Oct. 18.

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