LMU received a letter from L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin last fall that requested the University restrict pedestrian access to the gated entrance on Loyola Boulevard.
According to Associate Vice President of Administration Services Mike Wong, LMU has “agreed to evaluate the request and look at some physical designs as well as the effect on the LMU community.” The request is currently being reviewed by a team led by Wong and including representatives from Facilities Management, the Department of Public Safety and Community Relations. Feedback on the request will be solicited from students, faculty and staff “over the next several weeks,” Wong said.
An important aspect of the request that Bonin stressed in an email to the Loyolan is that it does not call for the closure of the gate. “I have not asked LMU to consider closing the gate or eliminating pedestrian access to the gate; I have asked them to consider restricting it,” he said. “It is a significant difference. I have specifically requested they implement a key card system so employees and students who live nearby would have the opportunity to access the gate as pedestrians. That has been a consistent, repeated and integral part of my request to the University.”
According to Nate Kaplan, L.A. City Council’s deputy district director for Westchester and Playa del Rey, the request was born out of discussions during Neighborhood Advisory Committee meetings. The committee, which was formed as part of LMU’s 20-year Master Plan, consists of representatives from the University, the local neighborhood council, Bonin’s office and other community members.
“When the University reinstated parking fees last January … we had a lot of people show up to our meetings very angry about the fact that there was no longer any parking in the neighborhood,” Kaplan said, adding that “they were drawing a correlation between the parking fees being instituted and faculty and students parking in the neighborhood.”
The idea of restricting pedestrian access to the back gate to only those who live within walking distance of the University was developed as what Kaplan called “a sort of out-of-the-box idea.”
Kaplan did note that an alternative strategy of a permit system was being considered, noting that “permit parking is on the table … but we haven’t heard of anybody interested in doing that in the area or initiating the process even to get permit parking.”
According to Bonin’s email, “The University has created a parking crisis in the neighborhood. To mitigate that problem, the University is singularly focused on a permit parking system that many neighbors find burdensome and insufficient. I am trying very hard to help the University develop alternatives to the parking crisis that do not burden neighborhood residents further.”
Ultimately, both Kaplan and Bonin stressed the commitment of their office to working with LMU to develop a solution to the parking issue. Kaplan also said that, if the plan of restricting access to the back gates is accepted by LMU, the Council office would be happy to help with the design and logistics of the plan.
While this option is being explored, the Council office is still open to exploring other solutions.
“I welcome any and all constructive suggestions – and hope the university will begin to present them accurately and consider them in good faith,” he said.