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LACCD commits to climate resolutions

The Board sacrifices parking to force mass transit to Valley College.

Katherine OBrien Field, Copy Editor

The Los Angeles Community College District passed a Climate Change Resolution but one idea is woefully short-sighted.

The LACCD is committed to attaining 100% renewable, carbon-free electricity consumption in the District by 2030 and in all other energy uses by 2040, according to the 2020 Clean Energy and Sustainability Resolution.

However, the Resolution contains an ill-advised suspension on building further parking structures and redirects such funds to “enhance mass transit.” There are currently three large campus construction projects, two of which are the Academic Complex 1 on Fulton Ave. and Academic Building 2 on Burbank Blvd. Neither building’s plan contemplates the creation of an additional parking structure.

As the campus grows in population, students, faculty, staff, and visitors who do not take public transit, will not have a place to park. Consumer market needs will inevitably control transportation behavior. Heavy-handed advance mandates designed to force a particular behavior, by limiting a public benefit, are often proven later to be an expensive mistake.

In contrast to this glaring inefficacy, the plan contains ideas that are well-advised. Valley’s original climate change resolution plan, developed in 2007, was updated in 2020.

“The District and Valley College developed the Integrated Energy Resources Plan (IERP), to identify how to achieve these goals,” said President Barry Gribbons. “For example, to reach 100% renewable carbon-free electricity, the IERP plans to increase photovoltaic energy production using solar panels, to quadruple current energy production on campus. Further, hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations will be installed.”

Forcibly reducing parking based on an advanced mandate, rather than reflecting the normal process of increased enrollment and staffing lacks a comprehensive vision. This may unsteady the goal of encouraging electric vehicle use through installing charging stations, by limiting places to park. The plan contemplates hundreds of charging stations, but according to LA Valley website enrollment data, the College has an enrollment headcount of over 20,000, not including staff, faculty, and visitors. Charging stations contemplate an hour or two of charge, but people need a place to park an EV or gas vehicle all day.

Yet, the Resolution shows foresight in other areas. President Gribbons identifies ways the Resolution has yielded benefits to the environment. “An important piece of our planning that already is in place is stormwater capture…the North and South Campus Road has “bulb-outs'', with cut-outs that channel water, and help capture the first inch of rainfall in 24 hours.

He continues, “The bulb-outs then have recessed grading and drainage, with media below, that allows the water to percolate down and recharge the aquifer slowly. Academic Complex 1 and Academic Building 2 also include sustainability practices, such as large underground water storage.”

The Resolution clearly has good ideas – solar panels, water capture, and EV charging stations – but limiting parking to force mass transit may likely result in permanent parking problems for Valley in the future.


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