Vista College provides an invaluable service to the community of Berkeley by providing
all kinds of training to a diverse group of people at an affordable price, right in the heart of
alternative transportation-friendly Berkeley.
Vista is constantly struggling with
a tight budget, yet thanks to voter support, was given a bond (Measure A, E and Prop 47) to build a new
campus. However, about $3.6 MILLION dollars of that money is being given to the City of
Berkeley, which is considering using it ALL for a parking garage!
This is a terrible idea, and will hurt Vista College and the City of Berkeley.
We could do so much more with that money, including proving a free "class pass" for all Vista
students, faculty and staff, which could free up more spaces than can be built.
From an equity standpoint, the majority of Vista faculty, staff and students
use alternative transportation to get to school. Building a new parking garage (at market rates which average
$20,000-$70,000 a spot, plus thousands more each year per spot to operate) would likely
purchase at most 50-100 spots, after a long and protracted battle. This does not consider that seismic retrofit might take a big chunk of the money. Parking garages are VERY EXPENSIVE and take a lot of space that could be used for affordable housing or other good things (downtown still doesn't have a grocery store!!!).
Any new parking spots would charge a fee to defray the cost of operation, just like existing garages (which rarely fill up) and would probably
still lose money, taking more precious public dollars that could be used for making Vista and the entire city better to
live in and easier to get to.
In contrast, the
money could go to improving access and transportation to downtown Berkeley, freeing up
many more parking spots than could be built. By not building a garage, something useful
to downtown (which doesn't even have a supermarket) could be put in the space.
Again, the money is far more than enough to set up a "Class Pass" program whereby
all Vista students would have free access to AC Transit buses. What do you think is better, free access to buses for all Vista
or a few pay-for parking spots in a garage? Plus, the City's recent Transporation Demand (TDM) study found that by improving the way parking is managed, there will be no new "need" for parking.
One Vista student was recently struck by a car while driving to school, which cost her weeks of missed classes, medical care, and $5,600 in car repair payments. She's now considering biking to school instead and supports giving all the
transportation mitigation money to making the streets safer and helping people get out of their cars.
The money is the equivalent to the tuition payments of over 16,600 full-time students! Don't give it away for a handfull of parking spaces that won't really help anyone get to Berkeley!
Thank to those who came to speak to City Council Tuesday, April 27. Please continue to follow this important issue.
Please write an email TODAY and call the Mayor and City council TODAY.
Or send a personal letter, which is considered MORE EFFECTIVE:
Mayor and City Council
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Telephone (510) 981-6900
Fax (510) 981-6901
You can send an email to all of them care of the clerk:
Mayor and Council firstname.lastname@example.org
And CC the Vista President's office, by writing or calling the President's office
Terry Tricomi, email@example.com
Phone: (510) 981-2851, Fax: (510) 841-7333.
Terry is the Administrative Assistant to the President's Office.
and please CC the BCLU so we can make sure they recognized the letter.
jmeggs account @ site bclu.org