Parking Woes: Costs Soar at SDSU, Free Spots Vanish at UCSD : Bike Lanes Take Spaces on Street

Times Staff Writer

The City of San Diego has eliminated 600 free parking spaces along North Torrey Pines Road adjacent to UC San Diego in order to put in bicycle lanes, forcing many of the UCSD students returning to campus this week to begin paying for parking.

The restriping in July of North Torrey Pines to red curbing between Torrey Pines Road and Genesee Avenue had been targeted for years, according to city officials, as part of longstanding plans to eliminate gaps in a regional bike lane route along the coast. The four-lane road is not wide enough for both bike lanes and on-street parking, officials said.

But, for the thousands of UCSD students accustomed for years to using the street for free, the move means paying $13 a month--or $117 an academic year--to use campus lots. There is no other all-day free street parking near the 15,000-student La Jolla campus, and UC campuses are prohibited by state law from providing free parking for students or faculty.

UCSD parking officials have added new lots and shuttle service to accommodate the greater demand for university parking, and say that the campus' continued rapid growth will soon lead to a complex parking system similar to those in effect at San Diego State University or UCLA.

'Most Will Be Surprised'

"Lots of students knew that (the restriping) was supposed to happen sometime in the future, but I think that most will be surprised this week to come back and find out it really happened," said Evan Weisenfeld, a UCSD student body commissioner and member of a student-administration parking committee.

"And that took away a lot of awfully convenient parking places.

"Everyone's big complaint has to do with the parking situation but if you go out to San Diego State, it's much, much worse, and no one realizes that," Weisenfeld added.

But UCSD's situation is gradually going to resemble that at San Diego State during the next several years, according to the campus director of parking and transportation.

"We are going to be continually adding parking to accommodate students, faculty and staff anticipated from all the new buildings and facilities under construction here," Robert Umstead said.

To compensate for the loss of North Torrey Pines Road and campus growth, Umstead this summer added 2,000 spaces in two new lots at a $2.3-million cost. Parking kiosks will be set up by January at the north and south campus entrances to begin selling day passes for visitors. Until now, visitors have parked in metered spaces.

"We've tried to get the word out about the changes," Umstead said. "Beginning (this week) for the next two weeks, we're going to have students and our own staff posted at campus entrances giving out information on parking, handing out maps, and the like."

Umstead stressed, however, that only 600 of the 2,000 new spaces are one-for-one replacements for the loss of street parking. The rest are for expansion. Because the lots are on the periphery of the campus, a morning-to-midnight shuttle service will run four times an hour between the lots and the campus center to ease commuter difficulties, Umstead said.

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