Archive for Monday, September 13, 2004

Oread residents consider parking permits

Neighborhood association weighing pros, cons of restricting on-the-street spaces

September 13, 2004


Finding a parking space in the Oread neighborhood can be a challenge.

No one knows better than Candice Davis, who has lived five years in the neighborhood that borders Kansas University.

"I think in Oread there's always parking problems," Davis said. "There are never enough spaces on the street, especially in the morning."

Because on-the-street parking spaces are a limited resource often used by students and other non-Oread residents, the Oread Neighborhood Assn. is discussing the possibility of a residential parking permit.

"I think we're getting to a point where we're reaching a critical mass and it's really hard for the people who actually live in the neighborhood to find parking spaces on the street," Davis said. "So that's where we're considering permit parking."

The topic of residential parking permits was brought up last month when the Lawrence City Commission discussed tightening enforcement actions aimed at controlling long-term parking on city streets. Many residents of older neighborhoods showed up in opposition, pointing out that for many of them the street is the only option.

"There are people who don't have an alley or a garage, so they rely on the streets. That's really tough," Davis said.

The problem with parking in the Oread neighborhood certainly isn't a new concern.

"Parking is always a problem everywhere, since the invention of the automobile," said Lawrence City Commissioner Boog Highberger.

In fact, last year a survey was conducted to look into the need for residential parking permits.

"I have discussed the possibility with some of the neighbors along Rhode Island Street next to the Hobbs Taylor loft project" on the north side of Eighth Street, said Highberger. "We looked at the numbers last year and it didn't seem there was enough neighborhood interest or concern to make it necessary at that time. But since the project has gotten started I think the situation has changed."

Discussion of a residential parking permit is in a very preliminary stage, and the Oread Neighborhood is still trying to weigh the pros and cons.

"The pros for us is you'd have a place to park," Davis said. "The cons, oh I'm sure it would be kind of a hassle factor."

And because talks are in a preliminary stage, many questions about parking permits remain unanswered.

For example: "Who would pay for it?" Davis said. "Is it going to be the neighborhood? I'd assume it's the city in fact, or would the university even help out?"

Despite the unresolved questions, "It may be the only long-term solution for neighborhoods like the Oread neighborhood," Highberger said.

That's what officials in Manhattan decided when they started issuing residential parking permits in the mid-1980s.

"We have five different municipal parking zones. Three around (Kansas State University), one around the high school and one around the mall," said Manhattan City Clerk Gary Fees. "I would say overall the program has been very effective. Especially around the university and high school it's been very well received. Without that, for the residents it's tough to find parking in front of their own homes."

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