Saturday, April 20

North Village residents, UCLA officials work to find alternatives to apron parking

Paul Stremple / Daily Bruin

Clarification: The original headline contained an error. North Village residents and UCLA officials are only trying to mitigate the effects of apron parking by finding alternatives.

Scott Korchinski and Alan Hwang decided to renew the lease for their apartment on Landfair Avenue last year, expecting to have their usual parking for the year.

But because of this summer’s enforcement of the ban on apron parking, their three spots were reduced to two, although they continued to pay the same rent.

Students returning to Westwood have found less parking available in the North Village after the enforcement of the ban began in late June.
Apron spots have never actually been legal, leaving students accustomed to parking on the apron outside of their apartments with little to do about the change in their parking situation.

With the ban’s enforcement, Korchinksi, a third-year cognitive science student, must now pay $100 per month to park up the street at the Jefferson Court apartments. Hwang, a third-year bioengineering student, is parking in an on-campus lot.

Alexandra Mauro, a fourth-year psychobiology student, found herself in a similar situation when returning to Westwood this fall.

When she and her roommates paid their security deposit and signed their lease, the ban on apron parking was just a rumor.

Yet, when they returned to school, their parking spot on the apron was unavailable, Mauro said.

Parking down the street in a larger parking garage is costing them $150 per month, she said.

“We joined the Facebook group (to fight for apron parking) and emailed our representative,” Korchinski said.

Along with these grassroots efforts, student leaders, administrators and community members have recently been working to find parking solutions for students returning to the North Village.

Joelle Gamble, Undergraduate Students Association Council external vice president, met with city councilmember Paul Koretz to brainstorm ways to ease parking in Westwood, but no decisions have been made as of yet.

The two discussed possible solutions, such as allowing students to parallel park on aprons so they would not block the sidewalk or the street, Gamble said.

This touches on the core issue of apron parking that led to the enforcement of the ban ““ apron parked cars impede pedestrians, especially those who are disabled, which is illegal.

As many different groups at UCLA and in Los Angeles have a stake in the issue, UCLA’s Government and Community Relations division has been working with the city on behalf of students who park in apron spots, said Vincent Wong, assistant director of Government and Community Relations.

For the last 10 years, the division has helped encourage the city to delay the ticketing of apron parking in Westwood, Wong said. It has also helped students fight tickets received during unannounced bouts of ticketing by the city, he said.

Now that the ban on apron parking is being fully enforced, UCLA Transportation and Parking is offering students parking passes for fall quarter with relaxed restrictions, while it figures out a permanent parking solution, Wong said.

“It’s not the perfect answer and everyone wants the flexibility of having a car, but there are a lot of city and campus alternatives,” he said.

Listing myriad options ““ including Zipcar, carpools, vanpools and affordable bus passes ““ Wong said they hope to encourage students to leave their cars at home and embrace transit alternatives.

Despite the efforts of campus and community leaders, many residents of Westwood still aren’t satisfied with the apron parking enforcement.

Roxane Stern, a resident of Westwood Village, has decided to organize a protest against the enforcement of the apron parking ban.

“We’ve lost more than 200 spots in the Village alone,” Stern said.

Stern said she hopes the protest, scheduled for Sept. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m., will encourage students and residents alike to speak out and keep fighting the enforcement.

Concurrent protests will occur in Los Feliz, Mar Vista and the Palisades, according to the website for Stop LADOT, which advocates on behalf of residents who rely on apron parking.

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