Parking Fee Hike Will Fund New Project

Sose Frankyan

Students will find themselves paying more for parking permits in the fall after a year of parking woes that led many students to out of GCC.

As of fall 2007 parking fees will increase from $50 to $65 for the fall and spring semesters and from $20 to $37.50 for the winter and summer sessions. The increase is marked to last for the next 20 years.

The Board of Trustees has decided to extend the duration of increased parking fees for the Mountain Street widening project to provide access to the new parking structure.
Students have weighed in against this plan.

“I think it is ridiculous to increase the price and they better be bringing me coffee and doughnuts,” said student Michael McMaster.

The City of Glendale is concerned about increased traffic on Mountain Street when the new lot opens in the fall. To solve the problem the city has determined that they needed to widen the street in order to accommodate the increased vehicle load.

The widening of Mountain Street will cost approximately $2.8 million. According to Director of Business Services Bill Taylor “we are borrowing money from what we call a certificate of participation, which is a mechanism for long-term low-interest loan.” The loan will be paid for by the student parking fees.

“I think it is necessary for the utilization of the structure to have wide enough roads for people to have access to it and to accommodate the traffic,” said student trustee and ASGCC President David Arakelyan. “But what I don’t like is the use of parking fees to pay for the construction,” added Arakelyan.

A proposed alternative route to pay for the construction was the Measure G fund, which is a $98 million bond measure approved by voters in 2002. The bond money is being used to renovate and improve GCC and the Garfield Campus.

The $65 increase for the semesters was set for 17 years, but “the board decided to extend the time to 20 years, which I was opposed to,” said Arakelyan.

“I think this [fee] is too much,” said student Irina Melik-Bakhshi. “We already spend a lot of money on books and tuition and now we need to worry about parking a fee increase.”

According to Roubik Golanian, Glendale City engineer, “the project was a mitigation measure and [required] the addition of two left two lanes into the parking structure off of Mountain Street.”

The widening of the street is scheduled to start next month and will be complete in mid- August.

“It will be operational and accessible, although we may have some little things to do here and there,” said Golanian. During the construction one traffic lane will be left open in each direction.

On the south side of the street, the sidewalk will be removed and a new lane against the curb will be added. Since it is a hillside it will require a retaining wall to hold the retain the dirt. A traffic signal will also be installed at the intersection of the new entrance to the parking structure.

About three years ago a parking task force looked at all the sites on campus in order to find an adequate spot for the placement of the new parking structure. To accommodate a big enough spot the current location of the structure was the best site. The structure will provide additional with 1,185 parking spaces.

“I believe when the road widening construction fee is paid off then [maybe] there will be an opportunity to lower the parking fee,” said Arakelyan.