Student parking options curbed

Rocklin to require permits for Sierra College student parking in neighborhoods
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Rocklin resident Margo Rabin is tired of dealing with Sierra College students who forgo campus parking lots and opt to park in front of her house for free. “It’s obnoxious. It has gotten totally insane and out of hand,” Rabin said. “Some days it looks like a freeway.” She told Rocklin City Council things have been escalating with students for far too long. “I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with the kids,” Rabin said. “The kids leave garbage in front of my house.” This year, Sierra College students not only saw their school tuition and expenses increase, but the college also doubled their day parking fees for the campus parking lots. Now they pay $2 a day or $40 for the semester, $20 for the summer session. Rocklin Police Captain Dan Ruden said for years students would park in the school’s adjacent neighborhoods to avoid parking fees. “This usually tapers off by New Year’s and then the problem goes away,” Ruden said. “But recently with increasing enrollment at Sierra College, the parking problem has been year long.” Rabin and her neighbors on Wildflower Lane and Havenhurt pleaded with the city council last September hoping the city would allow them to institute permit parking to discourage students from parking illegally or face a fine or perhaps a tow. Tuesday the city council approved a second reading of the new ordinance that would allow permit parking near the campus. “Thank you for this,” Rabin told council. “We want our streets back.” The city is buying nearly $1,400 worth of signage to put in the neighborhoods that would affect about 98 residents, according to police. Rocklin Police Department officers assigned and funded by Sierra College will enforce the permit parking zone. Some Sierra College students are outraged. “They bought a house across the street from a school, what did they expect?” Nicholas Rizzato said. “I pay sales taxes. I feel I have a right to park on that street, if I come to school or not.” Each resident will get four permits, but they can pick up more from police headquarters, according to Ruden. Other students, like Christian Valenty, said they simply can’t afford parking, so the permit program won’t deter him. “I think it is ridiculous,” Valenty said. “I actually park across the street in front of the pizza place. That’s another place I like to park to avoid the $2 a day.” Councilman George Magnuson is concerned the program would lead to a black market where residents would sell permits to students. Mayor Scott Yuill said he was concerned about counterfeiting. Ruden told council his officers would adjust to potential problems. “We’ll wait and see how this first year goes and we’ll try to tackle any additional needs as they come up,” Ruden said. Sierra student Carrie Dandrea pays for parking on campus and feels slighted by the rule breakers. “I am going to follow the rules,” Dandrea said. “You are going to pay more in parking tickets or a tow than just paying the parking fee. That’s how it is in the big city.” Andy Marshal, the parent of a current Sierra student, complained to council that students wouldn’t know anything about the program until they got a ticket. “The responsibility is going on the city of Rocklin when it should be going to Sierra College,” Marshal said. Ruden and Sierra College officials contend the campus has enough parking and the college is working with students to educate them about the coming restrictions. The new ordinance will be in effect by the start of the fall semester.