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UCLA's Parking Permit Crunch is Hitting Students Hard

With an estimated 18.6 million parking spaces in Los Angeles County as of 2010, it should be plenty easy to find a spot, but that's not often the case in certain neighborhoods. In Westwood Village (and in Downtown), demand-based parking meters and tech that helps people find empty spaces have helped, but on the nearby UCLA campus, snagging a spot is still a total nightmare for those unlucky students who haven't got a permit, says the Daily Bruin, and could be impacting transfer students especially. One permit-less student who drives in from North Hollywood tells the Bruin she's spent $700 on parking in the last school quarter alone. "There have been countless occasions when the visitor parking is full, and the permit parking is empty."

Transfer students get the shaft in part because of the way permits are assigned. Since 2013, the system at UCLA doles out permits based on a driver's seniority, not their distance from campus. "Officials implemented the change to avoid having to conduct extensive audits to combat false information." Compounding the parking availability problem are a number of construction projects in the area, which have cut down on the number of available spaces overall. The number of spots set aside for students dropped from 8,000 in fall 2014 to 7,172 spots this past fall, of 27,709 permits given overall (13,752 go to staff). At the same time, more spots are going to campus visitors and staff.

An in-progress poll conducted by the student-run UCLA Transfer Student Leadership Coalition has so far found that half of the 82 respondents (mostly students who commute to school) had been turned down for a permit the previous quarter, and about 75 percent had been denied a parking permit for the current quarter. 69 percent of respondents also said that "not obtaining a parking permit negatively affected their academic experiences."

UCLA officials are aware of the problem and have tried to mitigate it by subsidizing transportation alternatives, and have even opened up housing options to students who didn't receive a parking permit, the director of parking services for UCLA Transportation says. UCLA kicks in half of "the cost of six bus lines, and everyone who applies for a parking permit is guaranteed at least a carpool permit."
· Survey finds parking permit shortage affects student experiences [Daily Bruin]
· 14 Percent of Los Angeles County Land is Dedicated to Parking [Curbed LA]


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