The Irvine Company has begun enforcing a new parking system at the University Town Center (UTC) to address the issue of UCI students parking for excessively lengthy periods of time.
Last month, the property retailer Irvine Company informed businesses leased at UTC that it would begin implementing a new parking system, according to UTC employees. Irvine Company has withdrawn a majority of its unlimited-access parking spaces and restricted spaces for 45-minute, two-hour, three-hour and valet parking.
“Irvine Company decided that they had to restrict parking based on the UCI parking conflict; they had video footage of many students going to [businesses] like Peet’s and then walking across the street and not coming back for four or five hours,” said Whitney, a Manager of Edwards UTC 6 who declined to use her last name.
Since this recent change, many UTC managers and employees have shared how businesses whose customers stay for time-periods longer than three hours have been consistently voicing complaints. These businesses include 24 Hour Fitness, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and even the Edwards UTC 6.
“I think the two-hour parking is kind of ridiculous because sometimes people spend more than two hours eating, studying, watching movies, shopping or just hanging out with their friends,” said Victoria Lai, a second-year UCI undergraduate.
Positive feedback towards this new parking system has also been shared.
“It is nice that the parking lot is now finally open for [customers] to park,” said a participating business owner at UTC who wished to remain anonymous but shared the struggle to find parking prior to the new parking changes. “I would come to work everyday and spend at least 15 to 20 minutes finding a parking spot. Even in the staff-designated [area], there is no parking.”
While the Irvine Company did not respond to comment, UTC employees and business managers have shared the property retailer, and its parking enforcement team is still in the early stages of planning and firmly implementing this new parking system. So far, UTC employees have shared that only warnings have been given to drivers whose vehicles have been parked beyond the stall’s designated time.
“This is a small parking lot for a lot of things,” said Whitney. “Our facility holds like a thousand people, and if they were all to come, there would physically not be enough parking spots. So they are figuring out what to do.”