Homeowners living in the neighborhoods surrounding Loyola Marymount University might soon have the opportunity to create restricted parking in selected areas.
The university plans to charge visitors for parking at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year and LMU and Los Angeles city representatives think that may force even more students to park in adjacent neighborhoods, a situation that longtime residents say has been happening for years.
LMU Vice President of Communications and Government Relations Kathleen Flanagan announced at an advisory board meeting April 19 that the fees would be implemented to help offset costs of the campus master plan that the university has embarked upon to refurbish its facilities.
Per the master plan, at least 600 additional parking spaces will be added.
Faculty, students and employees of the university would begin paying for parking in January 2013.
This will be the first time that the Jesuit university has charged for parking since 2000.
LMU holds community advisory board meetings every quarter to give the public updates on its 20-year master plan as well as address other matters relating to the university and the homeowners who live in close proximity.
Some on the panel think the plan to charge for parking could trigger a desire for permit parking for LMU neighbors on streets like Fordham, Loyola and McConnell avenues as well as on 78th, 79th and 80th streets, which are in close proximity to the southern end of the university, where students and faculty often park their vehicles.
“We’re concerned that this will cause more student parking in residential areas,” said Nate Kaplan, Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s deputy for Westchester-Playa.
Currently, there is a moratorium on issuing permits for restricted parking districts citywide, and some of the more vocal homeowners have indicated that they would not be willing to pay for permits for visiting family members or friends to park.
Under an agreement forged between homeowners and university officials during the time that the master plan was being debated, LMU has agreed to contribute $24,000 to help offset the cost of permits of residents who are in favor of restricted parking.
Each household would be given two permits, which are calculated to cost approximately $34 each, according to university officials.
LMU officials are considering using some of the $24,000 allotment this year to pay for a study to ascertain whether homeowners within a certain radius of the campus favor permitted parking or if the potential for a problem could emerge with the onset of the university’s plan to implement a parking fee system on campus, LMU Community and Local Government Director Clarence Griffin told the audience.
Rosendahl said he has spoken with LMU President David Burcham and expressed his displeasure with the university’s decision to charge its students for on site parking.
“This could force kids who can’t afford to pay to park into the neighborhoods, which are very close to the university,” he said. “I expressed tremendous dissatisfaction with that plan, because it could make things much worse for some people.”
Jerry Sullivan, who lives on Fordham Avenue, says he and his wife Nina do not have the problems associated with student parking that many of their neighbors have complained of for years. “We use our garage exclusively (for parking their car), so (students parking on the streets) doesn’t affect us very much,” said Sullivan, a retired Los Angeles city fire captain.
Ross Williams, who also lives on Fordham, complained at the meeting about a student whom he says has parked on his street for several weeks and he asked Griffin to take some sort of action against the students.
LMU Chief of Public Safety Hampton Cantrell told Williams that the Department of Transportation would be responsible for those types of complaints, as the university is only authorized to act on student behavior on campus.
Sullivan said purchasing permits for visitors could become an inconvenience, if not a financial burden, to some residents.
“I’m not against (permit parking), but buying a lot of permits could be a problem for a lot of people,” he said. “Not so much for us, because we don’t entertain that often.”
Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa President Cyndi Hench reminded Griffin that LMU representatives told the public that they would not be expanding the infrastructure of the campus during the master plan hearings, but if more students began using the nearby residential streets, it would be the equivalent of an expansion.
“When all of your students are parking on residential streets you’re expanding your footprint,” asserted Hench, who spoke glowingly of the master plan at several meetings.
Bringing restricted parking to a community is not always an easy task. Each block in a particular neighborhood is required to gather at least two thirds of the homeowners to agree with the petition to create a restricted parking district.
Attempts to implement preferred or restricted parking districts have not had a great deal of success on the Westside. Venice was able to have an overnight parking limit imposed on oversize vehicles due to its ongoing problem with recreational vehicles, but only in a handful of neighborhoods.
Almost five years ago, a plan to have overnight parking signs along Culver Boulevard in Del Rey was tabled after residents who live in apartment complexes on nearby streets complained that the restriction would deny them a place to park because many live with one or more people in apartment complexes that have only one parking space.
And nearly two years ago the California Coastal Commission denied Rosendahl’s request to allow permit parking for a neighborhood in Playa del Rey, which has been plagued with parking challenges for decades.
The commission, which has jurisdiction in communities within 1,000 feet of the beach, found that a restricted parking zone would deny beach access under the Coastal Act.
If Westchester residents satisfied all of the conditions for a permit-parking district, the earliest that one could be implemented would be in approximately a year, according to Kaplan.