Signs like this one on 14th Street in Arcata may no longer say “and when H.S.U is not in session.”

Parking near HSU might soon become a little more difficult, even when school is not in session. At tonight’s meeting the Arcata City Council will consider adopting an ordinance which would enforce parking restrictions near HSU campus year-round.

Currently the metered parking areas near HSU and many of the four hour parking areas near campus and in Northtown are only enforced when HSU is holding classes. The parking signs in these areas remind you that restrictions apply “except Sat. and Sun. and when H.S.U is not in session.”

The Arcata Police Department — which enforces parking in these areas — is proposing that the city change remove “when H.S.U is not in session” from the signs, as well as the city’s municipal code. (On-campus parking is enforced by the University Police)

Arcata Police Business Manager Eileen Verbeck told the Outpost that the city has received complaints from people about getting a ticket during times HSU was in session; the complainants claim they did not think school was in session at the time. Enforcing the restrictions year-round would help reduce that confusion, Verbeck said.

The signs would be replaced gradually as they need to be removed due to weathering or damage, which Verbeck explained is included already in the department’s budget. As a temporary solution, the city will cover the “and when HSU is in session” portion with a special tape designed for street signs.

“It might look a little funny,” Verbeck said. “But luckily it will still make sense.”

This map, from the City of Arcata’s website, shows the parking restrictions in Arcata. (Verbick said it is slightly out of date and will be updated soon.)

Because HSU is in session almost all year, this change would not be very drastic, Verbeck said. There are only a few weeks in the summer and over the holidays when the restrictions don’t already apply. This ordinance would also make parking more consistent with HSU’s enforcement, which is currently in effect every week throughout the year.

This ordinance would also make parking enforcement more consistent throughout the city, Verbeck said, since parking time limits in all other neighborhoods are enforced year-round.

Anyone who violates the parking restrictions will be subject to a $40 fine, which is the standard ticket amount for most violations in Arcata. Though it might seem like a lot, Verbeck said that the reason many students choose to park on the street is to avoid the cost of paying for an HSU parking permit, which can be quite expensive.

Though consistency is the main reason for this change, Verbeck said she also hopes it will discourage people from driving to campus whenever possible.

“I’d be remiss not to mention that the city and HSU are very interested in encouraging alternative forms of transportation,”  Verbeck said. “If people can carpool, bike, walk, take the bus, it will help them not get a parking ticket.”

The Arcata City Council will discuss this ordinance on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at Arcata City Hall — 736 F Street.  The council will also be considering drafting a ballot measure which would discontinue adding fluoride to the city’s water system.

You can view the full agenda here.