5th District Councilmember and mayoral hopeful Gerrie Schipske feels that student parking along neighborhood streets near Long Beach City College (LBCC) is so pervasive that she feels LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus should subsidize parking for residents.
In a blog post where Schipske stated she will continue the fight at tonight’s LBCC Board of Trustees meeting, “step[ing] up and help[ing] solve a continuing conflict between LBCC students and the residents of the adjoining neighborhoods who are being forced to pay to park on their own streets because of the impact students parking there.”
However, some consider the move to place the blame of expensive on-campus parking to students who are already struggling to pay tuition.
“Essentially, Gerrie Schipske thinks LBCC should subsidize their neighbors’ parking because expensive parking is students’ fault and non-students should be entitled to free parking,” said downtown resident and student John Hupp. “Ouch.”
Schipske wants LBCC to go way of CSULB, an institution which pays some $18K per year to fully fund the residential preferential parking subsidy program. According to Rick Gloady of CSULB, the funds represent the cost of providing two annual parking permits per household in the neighborhoods around the campus that are impacted by overflow student parking.
But Schipske’s concerns could not only be seen as a strike against working students but also conflated. Richard Garcia, Associate Director of Public Relations & Marketing at LBCC, states that the college not only provides adequate parking with 5,700 spaces at its Liberal Arts Campus, but even “strives to keep parking affordable for students” by constructing new facilities and offering shuttle services from the Veterans Stadium lot to the north campus.
“Despite all of the College’s efforts, some students choose to park on city streets where parking is allowed,” Garcia said.
But even more—and adding possible accusations of conflation on Schipske’s behalf—is that the City’s Traffic Engineer has already previously proposed the creation of a residential parking permit program to limit parking on streets so that students cannot park there.
“Previous attempts to gather sufficient signatures for the creation of a permit parking area have failed in the area near Clark and Hanbury,” Garcia said. “The City has proposed implementing a free temporary permit parking zone in the affected area to see if this would alleviate residents’ concerns—and area residents are still divided about the proposal.”
A notice was mailed asking residents to provide feedback by mail on the proposal with responses due by March 31. The City will determine the next steps based on the input received and is likely to implement a permit parking zone in the most impacted area for free.
“This issue is clearly the purview of the City and residents to resolve,” Garcia said. LBCC will continue to encourage students to utilize its lots and to dissuade them from parking in neighborhoods. If and when a permanent proposal emerges, LBCC cannot use state funds for this purpose because they must ‘be used for the general purpose of district operations and support of its educational programs.’”
Schipske will appear at 5PM at tonight’s LBCC Board of Trustees meeting to encourage her proposal.