Town Council Vote Incentivizes 5C Parking Bans

Claremont City Council changed city parking regulations on September 14th in a way that will increase administration incentive to restrict the ability of students to park on campus.  Currently, the Claremont Colleges are required by city regulations to provide one half parking space for every enrolled student and employee. The city will reward colleges that ban an entire class from receiving parking permits with a  parking credit for those classes, so that they would not have to build as many parking spaces. CMC filed a brief in support of the bill. Vice President for Business & Administration Robin Aspinall noted in the brief, "With regard to CMC's campus, the [City of Claremont's] presumption that one parking space is required for every two members of the campus community has been shown to result in the College providing about 16% more parking spaces than are actually needed." The bill mentions the "positive results" from banning freshmen from parking at the Colleges, without mentioning the desire of freshmen to have cars on campus.

By giving the colleges permission to build fewer parking spaces in conjunction with class bans, the new regulation may have serious consequences for 5C students.  As the colleges continue to expand, administrators may find it simpler and less expensive to restrict parking for underclassmen than to construct more parking spaces. Not one of the 5C schools currently has plans to further restrict on-campus parking, however.

Even though this bill gives 5C administrators further incentive to restrict students' future abilities to park, few students knew about the bill. City Council publicized the bill with ads in the Claremont Courier and through mailers to property owners near campus, but students were not directly notified. Only one student, from Harvey Mudd, showed up at the hearing to express dissent.

Aside from the school's endorsement of the measure, there are no other signs that CMC's administration is making a move to further restrict parking on campus.

CMC's ban on freshmen cars was just enacted a year ago. The administration chose to restrict freshman access instead of other alternatives such as charging more for permits. "When we banned freshman cars, we did not think that charging more in parking fees was an equitable way to deal with the problem.  In such a system, the wealthy can buy something that others cannot," said Vice President for Student Affairs Jeff Huang.

Scripps is the only 5C school with no parking restrictions. CMC, Pomona, Harvey Mudd and Pitzer currently do not let freshmen have cars, and Pitzer also does not allow sophomores to have cars.