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City Puts the Brakes on Bundy Campus Parking

By Ann K. Williams
Staff Writer

October 28 -- As City engineers pave the way for construction of a community park at the airport, Santa Monica College students will have to scramble to find a new place to park next week.

The City posted two no parking signs this week at the airport lot that’s been serving the new Bundy campus since in opened in July. Students who aren’t out by November 2 will have their cars towed.

“We have to turn that lot over to the contractor,” said City Spokesperson Judy Franz. The building project is scheduled to begin in early November, she said.

A few days after the City signs went up, the College responded with its own sign directing Bundy students to “free parking” in the usually empty lots on the satellite campus.

City staff held an internal meeting on the parking snafu -- joined by “college people on the phone” -- Thursday afternoon, Franz said. “We’re still working with them (the College), we’re still talking with them, but nothing has been finalized.”

The City and College, along with Los Angeles City officials, have been trying for months to reach an agreement that will allow cars to get in and out of the campus parking lots without clogging traffic in Sunset Park and Mar Vista.

As fall approached with no end to the dispute in sight, the City agreed to let the College continue using the airport parking lot until November and opened up a temporary walkway onto the campus along Donald Douglas Loop.

But city officials have balked at opening the walkway up to cars in deference to Sunset Park residents who fear that increased traffic on Airport Avenue would back up into their neighborhood.

The subject will come before the City Council on November 8, and a staff report with more detail will be posted next week, Franz promised.

In the meantime, the College is making last minute adjustments.

College administrators are “still working furiously to figure things out,” said College Spokesperson Bruce Smith. He pointed out that the City Council meeting on November 8 will come too late to help students who need a parking space next week.

“We are as much in the dark as you are,” said Marie Fisher who sells parking permits at the Bursar’s office. She added that “the latest information that we have is that students can park at the Bundy campus lots without a permit,” advice echoed by the campus parking operator.

A “no left turn” sign is posted at the campus’ Bundy Avenue exit, so cars will have to turn right during rush hours. Mar Vista residents have been complaining for months that if the Bundy driveway is the only way out, traffic will clog up their streets when cars turn south on Bundy and cut across their neighborhood to get back to the Westside.

Bundy campus students are not the only ones who will need to find a new place to park.

Students who take classes at the main campus use the airport spaces weekday evenings and all day Friday so that they can catch the College shuttle -- a service originally set up to ease traffic in Sunset Park.

These students will be given temporary permits at the airport lot next week to park on the main campus for the rest of the fall semester, college officials said. They are still working on long-term plans for shuttle parking.

The City lets the College run its shuttle at Beach Lot 5, but only during the day from Monday through Thursday.

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