The Santa Monica Safe Streets Committee will hold a rally Wednesday to collect petitions asking that student parking be banned within a three-mile radius of Santa Monica College.
Residents formed the committee a few months ago to press for solutions to chronic traffic and parking problems in the neighborhoods surrounding the college, said spokesman Duke Kelso.
An estimated 600 to 700 signatures have been collected on petitions that will be submitted to the Santa Monica City Council, he said. The rally will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Grant Elementary School auditorium, 2368 Pearl St.
Shortage of Parking Spaces
College officials have acknowledged that the campus is short 1,360 parking spaces in the daytime and 2,120 at night. To address the problem, the college board of trustees in November appointed a 19-member advisory committee that came up with recommendations.
Last week, the board voted 6 to 0 to refer several of the committee's suggestions that require city approval to the Santa Monica City Council.
The trustees have asked the city to study the feasibility of permit parking zones that would prohibit student parking on streets. The first area targeted for permit parking is 20th Street, which the advisory committee said has the worst problem in the area. Many apartment buildings on 20th Street provide no parking for tenants, so residents must compete with students for places to park, the committee said.
The college board also asked the city of Santa Monica to consider adding parking spaces in the middle of Pearl Street between 16th and 17th streets, and on the east side of Pearl.
In addition, the board agreed to work with the city to develop a traffic management plan for the area.
The trustees also approved several items that do not need city approval. The board voted 6 to 0 to restrict the college's Lot 3, near the college library, to students who car pool. A parking attendant will monitor cars to be sure each is occupied by at least two people, officials said.
And the board authorized an educational program that would encourage students to use alternative transportation to get to school.
On June 1, the board plans to discuss the advisory committee's long-range recommendations, which include the construction of parking structures on campus.
Residents are opposed to the construction of more parking structures, Kelso said, because they believe that this would only attract more cars.
The advisory committee did not give permit parking top priority, although residents view this as the best immediate solution, Kelso said.
Residents want the college to require students to park elsewhere and use a shuttle to school, he said.
The board's approval of the advisory committee's recommendations in spite of community opposition was "a slap in the face," Kelso said.