Proposal to increase parking fees

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Larry Pageler, director of Transportation and Parking Services

Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) is proposing a three-year fare increase for most parking fees, as well as the faculty/staff bus pass. The increase, as proposed, would be effective July 2016. Most parking fees for the campus have not been increased in ten years. Today is the start of a 45-day period where feedback on the proposed fee increase is being solicited from the campus community. Below you will find additional background information.

The full costs for parking operations on University of California campuses are required to be funded by user fees, and state funds may not be used for parking. TAPS provides a comprehensive set of parking services for faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors. In addition to the costs of operating these services, funding is also required to support maintenance of parking and new construction. TAPS parking and program operations include the Sales Office, the Main Entrance Kiosk, Event Parking, Traffic Control, and alternative transportation programs such as the commuter vanpool and bike program. (The Campus Transit Operation, including the Bike Shuttle, is funded by student transit fees and is not a part of this proposal.) Current and anticipated capital construction of new parking includes the new parking lot at the Coastal Science Campus ($1.6 million) and parking for the planned Social Science 3 building ($2 million). Additionally, the parking budget has a required debt obligation for the Core West parking structure, which is an obligation of $810,000/year for the next 15 years.

Although parking policies restrict access for most first- and second-year students, campus growth, increased campus events, and lower fuel costs have contributed to the need to construct additional parking. Construction of a new surface parking space costs $22,000 each, or an average of $50,000 if in a new parking structure. Alternative transit and parking programs are provided to help reduce parking demand and in turn, reduce the need for construction of new parking.

In addition to parking operations, maintenance, and capital construction, the parking budget is required to fund compliance-related improvements, cost share in successful grant proposals (e.g., bike lanes, electric vehicle chargers, "smart" bike lockers, signal improvements), and provide the Traffic Control program. All of these support more efficient parking and transit operations, which in turn improve access for the community.

Key future improvements include expansion of parking capacity around Science Hill, expansion of the East Remote lot, and implementation of a Parking Management System to significantly improve service delivery and reduce staffing costs.

To mitigate the lack of fare increases and operational cost increases, staffing has been reduced by 20 percent over the past six years, even as the number of permit transactions, events, and regulatory requirements has increased substantially. Various processes have been streamlined resulting in additional savings. Unfortunately, and in spite of these efforts, the only way TAPS can continue to deliver services to the campus is by increasing user fees.

The current proposal aims to minimize the impact on those who purchase annual or academic permits as much as possible, and charge more for visitor parking and and short-term parking options (such as daily permits, paystations, or meters). The proposal also includes the expansion of parking requirements to the two UC-owned facilities off campus (Coastal Science Campus and 2300 Delaware) within the next academic year. There are no proposed changes to the definition of a carpool.

The TAPS website has detailed information about the TAPS operation (including funding and expenses), the full parking fee proposal, and the link to submit comments by May 30.

All comments will be forwarded to Chancellor George Blumenthal and Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway. The chancellor may either proceed with approval of the fee proposal, or he may ask for modification. If approved by the chancellor, the fee increases would take effect sometime between July and September of this year.

You are invited to tune into a live-stream outreach session on Friday, April 22 from 1–2:30 p.m. I'll be discussing the proposal (and the reasons behind it) in more detail, and answer questions. Details about this session will be sent out to the campus as we get closer to the date.