SWC students must contend with new parking regulations

For three decades College Estates resident Bob Muff has complained to the city of Chula Vista about Southwestern College students parking on the street in front of his home, adding traffic congestion to the College Estates neighborhood.

Today, however, Muff and the nearly 170 College Estates homes in the newly formed College Estates Parking District have their streets back.

College Estates is a small community east of SWC.

The district formed in July but official enforcement started Aug. 23, the second day of the Fall semester for SWC students.

“The first day, Monday, last week, there wasn’t any enforcement and there wasn’t any change,” Muff said. “The streets were impacted as usual before the parking district was established.”

Chula Vista city engineer Bill Valle said the first day of the semester was just an observation period that is why enforcement was not conducted until the following day. Valle said despite visible signage in the parking district and the college’s efforts to inform its students that parking in college estates without a permit could lead to a ticket, students continued to illegally park there.

Chula Vista Police Lt. Kenny Heinz said the Chula Vista Police Department handed out about 100 parking citations in the first day of enforcement.

Valle said both the Chula Vista Police Department and the SWC campus police patrolled the area, and have issued up to 150 parking tickets combined  in its first week of enforcement. Parking citations cost $47.50 for illegally parking in the college estates parking district. A ticket is $7.50 more than a semester parking pass at SWC.

Enforcement will be conducted at random times between the district’s hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Muff said it appears that college students are now getting the message that if they park in college estates without a parking permit they will be cited because the problem has subsided.

Residents in college estates can purchase three resident permits and one guest permit for $20 each. Temporary permits are available for a two-week period, which will also cost $20.

“It’s worth it to pay the $20 to get the  (student) traffic off the street,” Muff said.

Muff said student parkers left behind trash, parked next to red curbs and would blare their car radios. He said now that the parking district is being enforced, he no longer has to deal with these issues.

“I couldn’t be happier, after all these years,” he said.

The city hosted multiple community outreach meetings with residents, college officials and city staff with devising the new district,

With the establishment of the parking district Chula Vista is following the city of San Diego’s lead, which also has districts in neighborhoods near San Diego State University and UC San Diego.