Oread neighborhood residents are trying to take back their streets not from criminals, but from Kansas University students, faculty and staff who've been parking for free in the neighborhood.
With the help of a KU urban planning student, residents have developed a proposed city ordinance that would establish parking permits available only to residents in the neighborhood.
The Oread Neighborhood Assn. has scheduled a meeting for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lawrence Public Library, 701 Vt., to discuss the proposed ordinance.
Jennifer Brown, ONA president, said the proposal grew from residents' concerns about lack of parking. In some areas, she said, the parking shortage had grown acute.
"It's one of those situations where, if you go out to get groceries, you don't have any idea where you'll have to park when you get back," she said.
Brown and Olga Torres, the graduate student who wrote the proposed ordinance, said neighbors thought the culprits behind the shortage were KU students, faculty and staff who parked in the neighborhood to avoid paying for parking on the Hill.
Their solution is to have the city issue $20 parking permits to property owners and tenants in the neighborhood, which is bounded by Mississippi, Tennessee, Ninth and 14th streets.
In her proposed ordinance, Torres states that vehicles without permits would be ticketed if parked in the neighborhood between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. She suggests that fines would range from $10 to $100.
Torres said the solution wasn't unique. She said permit systems have been established at such schools as Kansas State University and the University of Oregon.
"It's been tried in several places, and it's worked," she said.
Ironically, a KU outreach program may be responsible for wiping out a source of free parking for Jayhawks.
Brown said that Torres began working with the neighborhood last summer after a KU planning instructor contacted the ONA.
Torres said the program was designed to give students practical experience. She said she began her work with the ONA by attending board meetings and talking with residents about their concerns.
After hearing concerns about the parking problem, which had been discussed by residents before Torres started working with the group, Torres decided to make it her project.
She said she drafted the ordinance in November.