The Vista del Campo apartment complex, UC Irvine’s most recent housing addition, has already raised concerns among residents after only one month of operation.
‘The single biggest problem facing some of our residents is parking,’ said Dennis McCauliff, director of housing operations for VDC.
According to McCauliff, parking is a common problem at UCI in general, and at most college campuses, but it has proven to be more significant at VDC due to the lack of parking options close to the property.
Although VDC has a ratio of one parking space to each graduate student resident, undergraduate parking is only able to accommodate 75 percent of undergraduate residents.
A lack of visitor parking is another problem facing students. The 1,500 residents of VDC share a total of six guest parking spaces.
Housing officials are working to solve the parking problem at VDC, but as of today, no definite solution has been determined.
VDC officials have been monitoring parking lot usage throughout the week during the peak hours of midnight to 2 a.m. They have found that even during these times, some parking spaces are vacant. They have consequently continued selling permits even though more permits have been issued than the number of parking spaces available.
The distribution of parking permits will continue until the VDC housing administration decides that all available spaces are occupied during peak hours. Meanwhile, they will continue to consider solutions to the parking problems.
‘We are working closely with UCI to identify other parking options close to Vista del Campo,’ McCauliff said. ‘We will update our residents about the parking situation as soon as we know more.’
ASUCI has provided shuttles to take students from VDC to the main campus, which has offered some relief to students.
The ASUCI shuttles run every five minutes until 6 p.m. and every 20 minutes thereafter until 11 p.m., which has been helpful for students who don’t have a car or don’t want to risk losing their parking spots.
‘I think that one of the things that draws a lot of students to Vista del Campo is the availability of the shuttle,’ said Ryan Sanders, a third-year political science major.
Students also voiced concerns about safety issues that have arisen from the parking situation. Since shuttles run only until 11 p.m., students who park in Lot 1B, one of the closest parking lots to VDC, may have to walk long distances to their apartments late at night.
‘If you come home late, you have to walk that distance … alone in the dark,’ said Pam Lincoln, a third-year biology major. ‘There is a safety issue here.’
Students can call a 24-hour safety escort line if they feel unsafe. ASUCI hopes to eventually provide more security in these areas.
Despite some student concerns, the complex is running more smoothly than expected, according to VDC administrators.
‘The parking issue notwithstanding, in many ways the first month has exceeded my expectations,’ McCauliff said. ‘I continue to be impressed with the academic commitment of our residents and I think that the support we have received from UC Irvine has been fantastic.’
As residents of VDC, students enjoy many amenities, such as on-site laundry facilities, social lounges and study areas.
Generally, residents are pleased with their experience at VDC, although the rent is higher than other on-campus housing options like Campus Village and Arroyo Vista.
‘The facilities and the overall feel are resort-like,’ said Jeff Shum, a second-year film studies major. ‘For 30 days I feel like I’m in paradise, and then I’m reminded that I have to pay the rent. After a few days of depression and starvation, I’m able to return to my state of contentment.’
Shum also said that he is ‘definitely coming back next year.’
Other residents echoed Shum’s sentiments.
‘It feels more like a resort than an apartment complex when you walk around,’ said Chris Turner, a second-year economics major. ‘It is a lot nicer than I expected and I’ll probably end up living here next year.’
Students who are considering living in VDC next year are advised not to delay.
‘We will be accepting applications from new residents on Nov. 22,’ McCauliff said. ‘We expect the process of filling for next year to happen fast. If you like what you see, don’t delay, because there might not be space left if you wait too long.’
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