Editorial: Higher parking tickets can solve traffic snarl

Channels Staff

City College is raising its parking ticket fees to the Santa Barbara City level—and it’s about time.

Tickets will jump from $32 to $40 each, starting immediately.

The Channels approves of this change. Parking is impossible here, and higher-priced tickets could force commuters to find other means of getting to school. Who can deny the school could use the extra revenue?

City College netted more than $340,000 from parking tickets in 2011. With similar ticket numbers and the increased fees, the college stands to make $80,000 more per year.

Putting it into perspective, a newly hired lab teaching assistant makes about $35,000 a year. A student working the maximum 19.5 hours at the beginning wage makes about $5,400 a year. Part-time teachers make about $4,000 to to teach one class. Those are just a few of the things we could buy with that money.

People who get tickets won’t like it, but that is the way the world works. If you’re one of those people who don’t have class until 10 a.m. and know you won’t find a spot, there are other options than chancing a ticket.

You wouldn’t show up to a Lakers game at 7:20, expect to find parking, and get inside in time for tip-off at 7:30. No, you would get there early enough to park and walk to your seats or take public transit so you don’t have to park. Why is that so hard for people here to understand?

City College has 2,466 parking stalls for faculty, staff, students and visitors. With unlimited permits sold and  20,000 students here every  semester, the college can’t begin to guarantee a parking space for everyone. Everyone who drives to campus knows that finding parking is agonizing. In a scramble to be on time for class, drivers are left to play musical parking spaces. Just because you paid $33 for a parking permit doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself nuts trying to use it.

And we have so many other options.

If you are late to class, park a few blocks away and walk.  In the time you would have spent looking for an open stall, you could have parked and walked to class on time.

Take a bus, which is free to SBCC students with a ID card. The Metropolitan Transit District provides more than 20,000 rides per day, giving Santa Barbara the 10th highest public transit usage per capita in the country.  It’s a local resource we all should be using.

Or carpool,and secure a choice spot for yourself. Ride a bike or a motorcycle, both of which get prime parking. Or park across the street at the beach and walk across Shoreline Boulevard. That would take about an extra 10 minutes.

You can also do as Director of Security Erik Fricke, who walks to school daily. “I feel like we depend on our cars too much simply because it’s convenient,” he said.

Cashiers selling permits do need to clarify that a permit doesn’t guarantee a spot. Right now, that’s spelled out in very fine print  when your permit is mailed. Still, parking here is cheap and easy compared to UCSB, which charges $432 annually for a permit, or $4 an hour for the meters, and offers few parking spaces.

We all need to grow up. Park illegally and take the consequences. If you can afford  a car, you can afford the fees for breaking the law with it.