YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

UCLA Seeks Ways to Put the Brakes on Traffic Growth

October 30, 1986|CLAUDIA PUIG | Times Staff Writer

UCLA transportation planners, who expect a 10% increase in traffic near the campus during the next five years, are proposing more ride-sharing, more parking spaces, increased use of scooters and bicycles and less reliance on automobiles in what has been described as one of the city's most congested areas.

"In no case are we talking about reducing traffic; we're talking about reducing the growth of traffic," said Mark Stocki, UCLA transportation services administrator. Stocki is overseeing the creation of a Transportation System Management Plan being drafted by Crain & Associates, a West Los Angeles consulting firm.

The 350-page plan forecasts traffic and parking conditions over a 20-year period, with an emphasis on the next five years. The plan, which takes into account Westwood's expected development, incorporates short-term and long-range solutions on campus and in Westwood Village. It is scheduled to go to UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young for review next month.

Focus on Ride-Sharing

The plan focuses on increasing commuter assistance and ride-sharing efforts because "if you build more parking, the theory is more people will come and park," adding to an already-crowded campus, Stocki said.

He also said that although additional spaces are usually incorporated in plans for new buildings, they rarely meet the demand for parking at a new facility.

The Transportation System Management Plan predicts an increase of about 10% in UCLA-generated traffic over the next five years. The area around the San Diego Freeway is expected to experience the worst tie-ups unless traffic volume can be reduced.

Planners measured traffic volume at peak hours on all the major streets and highways leading into the campus. They found that Montana Avenue off the San Diego Freeway, Wilshire Boulevard near Veteran Avenue, Gayley Avenue and Westwood Boulevard were overloaded.

They call for widening roads around UCLA and adding new street signals and left-turn lanes to regulate traffic flow within five years.

As of November, 1986, UCLA will provide a total of 20,913 parking spaces on campus, distributed through nine multilevel parking structures and 28 surface lots. With 35,000 full-time students and 18,730 faculty and staff members, that parking does not go very far.

This year, UCLA created 1,150 new parking spaces, officials said. The university plans to add more than 3,400 over the next five years. Stocki refers to this as part of an "aggressive construction plan."

In addition to providing campus parking, UCLA planners hope to minimize traffic problems in Westwood. In the next two decades, UCLA transportation officials would like to provide a "major solution" to the Westside traffic glut, Stocki said.

Stocki alluded to "a major re-configuring in the Village" and a possible freeway restructuring to incorporate an exit leading directly into a campus "parking reservoir," Stocki said.

This restructuring would be "probably one of the largest cooperative efforts in the history of West Los Angeles," he added. However, he would not discuss specifics before the proposal goes to Young.

Commuting Patterns

The transportation plan also takes into account the different commuting patterns of faculty, students and staff.

Surveys show that faculty and students have more flexible schedules--they tend to travel later in the morning and evenings--than staff members, who generally work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Transportation studies show that faculty and staff are more likely to drive alone to campus, while students who drive often travel with others. Seventy-five percent of faculty and staff drive alone, compared to 38% of the students. However, faculty and staff are guaranteed parking, while students must qualify for assigned parking.

Students who do not qualify for parking are placed on a waiting list. About 3,600 students are on the list now, Stocki said. Last year, 5,500 were waiting, he added.

Campus parking officials are heartened by the popularity of bicycles, motorcycles and scooters on campus. Moped use has increased by 210% in the last year. Although students commute by bus, cycles, car pools and foot, about a third drive alone, according to a 1985 survey.

Given Incentives

Students, faculty and staff are given incentives to join car and van pools. Students are guaranteed a parking space if they are in a car pool with at least two others.

Transportation administrators are trying to change attitudes. They maintain that many students who drive to campus find it more convenient to park on adjacent residential side streets than to pay to park farther away in a campus lot, despite a free shuttle service that runs from the lots to mid-campus.

"Except for the fact that street parking happens to be free, I don't see how it's more convenient," Stocki said.

He said that additional parking in a lot near the Veterans' Administration complex, which became available in September, has been turned down by 60% of the students who apply for parking.

Los Angeles Times Articles