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Parking Perks and Pains

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Clive Houston-Brown, vice president of human resources, information technology, facilities and safety, headed the planning and building of the five-story parking structure that opened Aug. 1, 2016. The project is personal to him, and he proudly watches over the complex like a proud parent. He told the reporting team that he wants to warn students about the consequences of causing the triggering of the earthquake sensors in the elevators and the cost of repairing them, which comes from student tuition. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Clive Houston-Brown, vice president of human resources, information technology, facilities and safety, headed the planning and building of the five-story parking structure that opened Aug. 1, 2016. The project is personal to him, and he proudly watches over the complex like a proud parent. He told the reporting team that he wants to warn students about the consequences of causing the triggering of the earthquake sensors in the elevators and the cost of repairing them, which comes from student tuition. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

by Ashley Mubiru
photography by Veronyca Norcia

There are two things people usually talk about at La Verne. One is the weather, and the second is parking. Oh, my, parking. No matter how hard the University tries to accommodate its community, people still say they have issues. The University of La Verne has a total of 2,753 undergraduates with many students, staff and faculty attempting to utilize the parking structure that holds only 940 parking spaces. The five-story structure cost approximately $16 million and fulfilled part of Phase One of the University’s 2020 plan after its official opening Aug. 1, 2016. Parking permits are included in student’s tuition. Staff and faculty can pay a monthly fee or park for free on the fifth floor.

The city of La Verne had a strong hand in pushing the University to build the multi-story structure, which offers hybrid and electrical car charging and multiple handicap spaces on the first floor. LED lighting brightens the structure while a solar array on the roof provides power to the entire complex. Campus Safety is housed on the first floor, and over sees the many security cameras. Though the structure has eased parking at ULV, many students and faculty have differing opinions now that the newest residence hall, Citrus Hall, began housing more than 400 students summer 2018.

Clive Houston-Brown, Vice President of Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities and Safety

Junior biology major Itzel Jauregui says parking fluctuates on the University campus. However, she says she always has difficulty finding parking in the parking structure. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Junior biology major Itzel Jauregui says parking fluctuates on the University campus. However, she says she always has difficulty finding parking in the parking structure. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

“We’ve made changes to the parking structure, and after it has opened up we kept an eye on what was happening with it and accessed the situation. Some of the changes we made that came from student input was shutting down the spaces in the corners. As you go round-and-round, you’ll notice that each space of the corners is now striped so that you cannot park there. Students were concerned that the spaces were too tight. It was a very necessary structure, and we are happy to have the parking available. La Verne had a really painful parking situation before the structure, so that 940 spaces made a huge difference. Nothing comes to mind in terms of things I would change necessarily.”

Itzel Jauregui, Junior Biology Major

“It’s so weird because it fluctuates. One day there will be no parking, but on an off day like Friday there’s actually parking in the library parking lot. However, the situation in the parking structure is just terrible. I feel like I can never get parking. Even when I go on the fifth floor, everything is full. They need to build another parking lot where Stu Han used to be.”

Senior education major Ashley Tarango says she feels safe parking on the University of La Verne campus because of the security cameras and presence of Campus Safety officers. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Senior education major Ashley Tarango says she feels safe parking on the University of La Verne campus because of the security cameras and presence of Campus Safety officers. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Ashley Tarango, Senior Education Major and Transfer Student From Mt. San Antonio Community College

“I really don’t mind the parking here at the University of La Verne. I like that there is a parking structure close to campus, and that it has cameras. The security cameras make me feel safe, especially at night when I have classes. I take late classes so it’s always reassuring to know that your safety is all-good. I know on the first two weeks of school it was kind of packed in the parking structure, but other than that I haven’t heard any complaints.”

Dr. Veronica Esscoffery-Runnels, University of La Verne Associate Professor of Education

“As faculty, we do pay for parking. I’ve always hated paying parking fees ever since I was a student, but I know the money is necessary in order to maintain the parking. As faculty, many of us have a monthly deduction out of our paychecks. It’s probably not worth what we pay for, because unless you get here during certain times of day, it’s really difficult to find a convenient parking space. I get here early, so I’m able to get a good parking space on most days. However, if I have to leave campus, when I come back it means I may have to park a little bit farther. Inconvenient, I deal with it; however, it would be nicer if we had more available parking because it is an issue for my students.

Veronica Escoffery-Runnels, associate professor of education, is an advocate for helping students find parking on campus. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Veronica Escoffery-Runnels, associate professor of education, is an advocate for helping students find parking on campus. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

I’m a graduate program professor. For the graduate side of campus, our students get here at 4 o’clock in the evening, or a little bit prior to that for their first class and so finding parking for them is very difficult. The city is very active with ticketing; sometimes, I have students who have to leave in the middle of class just so they can move their car, so that becomes an issue. For them, it is more of an issue than it is for me. I learned my lesson; I parked on the street once and got a ticket, so that was enough for me. I will park in the lot and just make the walk.

I have walked in the parking structure a few times, but it’s usually on the weekends so it’s pretty empty. I do have a new faculty; however, she’s not paying for parking because it is a budget issue for her, so she parks on the top floor which is free to faculty and staff. My students are definitely concerned and do complain. Students pay quite a bit of money to come to this University. As graduate students, most of our students are working full-time, have families, get here in the evenings, and that just kind of adds to their stress when they can’t find a place to park.”

Miss Donuts owner Danny Sou explains his worries of the limited parking around Old Towne La Verne due to University of La Verne students occasionally using his restaurant private parking area to park their cars. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Miss Donuts owner Danny Sou explains his worries of the limited parking around Old Towne La Verne due to University of La Verne students occasionally using his restaurant private parking area to park their cars. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Danny Sou, Owner of Miss Donuts, Old Downtown La Verne

“The donut shop has been in the family for 11 years now, but I’ve been here for the past two years. The only main change I’ve noticed is that the University built the new parking structure near Arrow Highway. Aside from that, I know the city made it so that businesses can give parking permits, so businesses and staff can park on the streets, but you have to pay an annual fee for that. Aside from that, I haven’t noticed anything major. I do see some students park on the residential streets every now and then, mainly Third Street. There are some inconveniences, every now and then they park on our private property. Some are students. I don’t want to tow them, but it becomes an inconvenience. It hasn’t been to the point where I’ve needed to complain.”

Campus Safety Officer Laura Avalos talks about the advantages of building another parking structure to help people find parking. Overall, Laura says that during her 19 years at La Verne, she has seen parking become greatly improved on the University campus. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Campus Safety Officer Laura Avalos talks about the advantages of building another parking structure to help people find parking. Overall, Laura says that during her 19 years at La Verne, she has seen parking become greatly improved on the University campus. / photo by Veronyca Norcia

Laura Avalos, Lead Campus Safety Officer

“Our students, our community and staff members don’t have to really suffer for parking. We used to have an arrangement with Fairplex. We had people waiting for the shuttle to come by. So that’s a huge improvement, because people no longer have to wait. People can just come in, park and go to class, as opposed to, ‘Oh, I have to arrange 15 extra minutes for myself to get to a shuttle, wait for the shuttle to arrive, enter the shuttle and make it on time to class.’ I have been through it; I was a student back then. The most recent crime we’ve had was the incident when the car batteries were stolen. Other than that, it’s really just people backing into each other, or taking too short of a turn. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually our busiest days in the parking structure. I believe we need another structure across campus where the old Stu Han used to be. At least a two-story there would help. People think, ‘Oh, there has to be parking here because it’s five levels.’ But there are so many of us who come into class and work at the same time.” ■

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