Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City agrees to create resident-only parking zone on street near KU campus

May 7, 2013


The street is still public, but at least a couple of the parking spaces on it essentially will be private.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday approved a new six-month pilot project that will create a “residents-only parking zone” on a congested portion of Edgehill Road near Kansas University.

But how the city defines resident is important — it won’t include the more than 100 fraternity or sorority members who live on houses along Edgehill.

The project drew objections from fraternity and sorority members who said the new parking system would discriminate against them.

“General taxpayers pay to have the roads maintained, and I think all general taxpayers ought to be able to use the roads,” said William Murfin, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at 1621 Edgehill.

Ultimately, commissioners ended up siding with Steven Watts, a resident who lives year-round in a home along Edgehill.

“There is simply nowhere to park on Edgehill,” Watts said. “I think this is a reasonable compromise.”

The pilot project will involve installing “Resident Parking Only” signs on 50 feet of street on the north side of Edgehill Road, just east of Louisiana Street. The special parking area will be in front of Watts’ home at 1649 Edgehill and a separate property at 1647 Edgehill that is owned by Robert and Elaine Brewer, according to county property records.

Under the plan approved, the city would issue permits only to the property owners at 1647 and 1649 Edgehill, in essence, making it legal only for those property owners or their guests to park in those two on-street parking spaces.

The decision was new territory for the city. The city has created no-parking zones on public streets before, but the idea of limiting who can park on a street based on where they live is new. The idea created some concern among commissioners.

“I don’t think students from the University of Kansas who live here from August to May deserve to be treated like second-class citizens,” said City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer. “If this was the other way around, I think the residents who live there would be outraged if we were talking about giving permits only to students.”

But ultimately commissioners unanimously agreed to the pilot project, after the request was reduced from a 100-foot area to a 50-foot parking area.

Mayor Mike Dever said the two residences — which both have some off-street parking available on their properties — deserve to have reasonable access to parking spaces in front of their houses.

“This isn’t about punishing anybody,” Dever said. “It is about letting somebody who lives on this street freely enjoy their property.”

Commissioners said they understand residents in other neighborhoods may request similar type of resident-only parking areas for their neighborhoods. But commissioners said they thought this area was fairly unique in that the two houses virtually are surrounded by sorority and fraternity houses.

But Dever said a larger issue on parking near the university is likely to emerge in coming months. He said he wants the city to at least discuss the idea of creating a permit parking system for the Oread Neighborhood.

He said he could envision a system that would deter people who live outside of Oread from driving into the neighborhood and using the neighborhood’s on-street parking as a free way to park near the university.

Other commissioners, however, did not weigh in on that topic Tuesday night.


David Holroyd 5 years ago

And how does Mr. Dever plan to enforce permit parking for the Oread Neighborhood?

Evan Ridenour 5 years ago

Um... the same way as is currently available. It is called a tow truck.

NewKansan 5 years ago

It is a pilot project. I would hope that trying this out will provide some answers for other areas. You have to start somewhere.

NewKansan 5 years ago

I's like moving next to Bourbon Street and complaining that the noise is too loud.

However, there are many many many other places around the country that issue city permits to residents for parking on the street...especially in congested areas or around college campuses. I was actually surprised Lawrence didn't have it here already.

Hooligan_016 5 years ago

Indeed, Baltimore has zoned/assigned neighborhood parking stickers.

gr 5 years ago

They already have off street parking. They just need to leave.

If the city is going to do something, it should be a all or none. Either all residents have full and the only rights in front of their homes, or none do. Every resident should have a special parking tag with their address on and any parking anywhere else will be towed. Think of the cost. But think of the revenue.

NewKansan 5 years ago

I do agree with you there...should be all or none. I trust the local news will stay on them about this and start asking more questions if it's not expanded or simply done away with.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years ago

How do you enjoy your property when parking on a public street in front of your property?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

This permit concept is not new stuff. If my memory serves me well residents in some Philadelphia single family row house neighborhoods have permit parking neighborhoods. Which of course guarantees them parking near their resident.

In fact some residents use their vehicle as little as possible so as not to risk losing space. Public transportation provides this opportunity. Then again this area has many small neighborhood grocery stores within walking distance. These busy Mom and Pop stores do it again.

Alceste 5 years ago

This concept reads like one that can work if Lawrence wants it to work. Lawrence, Kansas enters the arena of Residential Parking just as have many other university communities. What's the big deal? It does appear it's been done before and even at KSU in Manhattan.

Compare Lawrence and KU to Evanston, IL and Northwestern University as an example:

"There are 25 different Residential Parking Districts established in areas where there is high demand for on-street parking or a need to reduce commuter parking in residential areas." The City of Evanston, again, the home of Northwestern notes "Only residents who live within a specific residential area can purchase residential parking permits."

It's not a new concept.

Read all about a fair and equitable system of parking in a place similar to Lawrence here:

KU has a lot of parking for sale to students, staff, faculty and pretty much anyone connected with the University. A Regular Joe or Jane Lawrence resident cannot purchase such a parking permit from KU.

Perhaps KU might want to consider opening up their lots and garages to any member of the Lawrence community. Alceste will take bets that the majority of cars parked on public streets around and about the KU footprint do not reside in the area. The owners of these cars who either attend KU or work at KU have options. Mere residents of Lawrence do not have these same options.

Evanston, IL and many, many, many other communities across the USA have resident parking mandates. They've had them for decades. It's past time Lawrence began to examine parity with respect to parking for non-KU folks.

Issue Residential Parking Permits ♦ Manhattan, KS: issues two permits per property at nominal fee. Overnight parking in neighborhoods near campus prohibited without a permit. ♦ Newark, DE: No more than 2 residential parking permits will be issued per address for any non-owner occupant single-family type dwelling requiring a rental permit. ♦ Columbus, OH: Limits number of ‘stacked’ cars in a driveway; also limits to area devoted to parking and maneuvering of vehicles in the University District Overlay to 35% of lot to prevent the “auto salvage yards” syndrome. ♦ Eugene, OR: One permit per address, with a limited number of additional permits for a 2-hour parking limit only. ♦ East Lansing, MI: 24/7 program in select neighborhoods, which limits number of permits [up to 3 or 4, depending on area] per address. No on-street parking 2am-5am. Grandfathered businesses exempted. ♦ Bloomington, IN: Limits number of permits issued Greek houses in the neighborhood. Greek Houses do not receive visitor passes.

Kindly note what has been done in Bloomington!

gr 5 years ago

What if there is no parking in front of your house? Do you get a refund on your taxes? What if you have more people with cars at your house than there is space in front of your house? What if you live on a cul-d-sac? Why should people who are living in the city at a residence not be treated the same as others and each one be given street parking?

Discrimination is what you are promoting.

NewKansan 5 years ago

Good job Alceste, but you're talking to a few brick walls here. It's like they have that "oh my God, oh my God" reaction when anything new is presented. How's it gonna they get refunds on their taxes...etc. I'm amazed sometimes...

gr 5 years ago

You must realize just because someone else is doing something doesn't mean it is right nor legal. Just because people are getting stoned in Colorado doesn't mean we need to, too.

Everyone pays taxes. Why shouldn't they get the same chance to park like anyone else? I am amazed sometimes....

Larrytown 5 years ago

Agree with the Commission. This is a reasonable compromise to allow residents of the neighborhood access to parking in the front of their house. IMO...a no brain decision. It'll be interesting if they decide to expand this project to other areas (i.e. Oread neighborhood). I think they probably should.

When I used to live in Denver, a similiar project was in place. Residences had to obtain stickers (limited to 2 per resident) and place them on their cars. This was needed because of the commercial and hospital activity within 2-3 blocks from the hood.

Alceste 5 years ago

William Murfin, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at 1621 Edgehill left out the reality that very large living group filed for a variance to modify their inadequate parking lot because the type of vehicles they're parking in that lot are so large. Coupled with that variance is creation of a playground, including a basketball court, among other things. Perhaps William Murfin, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at 1621 Edgehill and that living facility might want to consider adding more parking instead of a playground?

Just as poster The_Big_B opines above "If you don't like tight parking, it seems like you should have two choices --- 1) Don't move in next to a large University, or 2) Provide for yourself, with off-street parking." One is compelled to ask "Why join a living group if it can't provide parking?" Read about the Phi Delta Theta parking variance request here: ITEM #4

fu7il3 5 years ago

Does this mean we can all get assigned parking spaces on our respective streets? That seems to be the precedent set by this.

kernal 5 years ago

fu, approval of a pilot project does not set a precedent.

gr 5 years ago

If you have been reading other articles, you would know this is INDEED setting a precedent. They have been wanting restricted residential parking for some time. This is a trial run. Then, they'll put it elsewhere.

The message is, non-residents, GO HOME!

fu7il3 5 years ago

Of course it does. The neighborhood south of 18th and Naismith has an even better gripe because most of the people parking there aren't living there. From what I read, the houses getting the permits also have off-street parking, so essentially, they are wanting space to park second or third cars. How does this not set a precedent for anyone living anywhere that students are normally taking all the parking?

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

This should also happen in the neighborhood south of campus from Louisiana to Missouri north of 19th.

There is plenty of on-campus parking available for students, faculty, and staff. Not wanting to pay for a parking permit is no reason to clog up residential streets and make living in those areas miserable.

I don't live in that area but see what trouble it causes to residents.

gr 5 years ago

If you are a resident and you don't have a private reserved parking space in front of your house, you are being discriminated against. Looks like the sorority and fraternity houses need to show up at city hall and demand where their reasonable access to parking spaces in front of their houses are and demand the city provides it at taxpayer expense!

Nikonman 5 years ago

Have you seen the price of on-campus parking lately? Depending on the time of day, a KU parking permit is a "hunting License" for a parking spot. Aside from that, why should KU Classified employees have to pay to park where they work? As far as I know, KU is the only employer in Douglas county that charges it's employees to park where they work and even then you are normally parked the equivalent of 3-4 blocks away from your workplace.

bevy 5 years ago

Not just the classified ones, either. The unclassified, 10 bucks an hour folks have to cough up $600 per year for a permit, and then there is no guarantee of actually finding a space. KU sells more permits than they have spaces available!

hs_reader 5 years ago

The most expensive I saw was between 300 and 400 a year, and those are the special ones. And the cheapest is the park and ride, which is $100 a year. Where did you get your numbers?

average 5 years ago

As for the 'hunting', I've never seen the park-and-ride lot full, and you're allowed to use it and the buses with a Dorm, Yellow, Red, or Blue.

It's not perfection. KU would like to run even fewer buses. They're (stupidly) ramping up the cost of the park-and-ride-only permit for next year. Trying to recoup the cost of running buses, rather than keeping it cheap and encouraging use and valuing the intangible benefit of lower traffic on campus. Common KU 'penny wise'-ness. Still, it is a real option, even for staff/faculty.

gr 5 years ago

What about handicapped people? Will they be able to park there?

gccs14r 5 years ago

The easy solution is to make it so that only residents and their guests can park within the confines of their frontage. The boarding houses can work out by lottery/seniority/some other method who gets to park at curbside if there are more cars than spaces.

optimist 5 years ago

I'm not a student and I'm not always sympathetic of the students that live in our community especially because of some of the behavior I witness from them, but I am a tax payer. I understand the concern of the residents that live there but they knew the issues when they decided to live there and made a choice. The Commission should be ashamed of itself. Nowhere in the city should public property be reserved for only some residents to use. It's a public street for crying out loud. I know people that live in the area so I am familiar with the issue. As a taxpayer I have a small share of ownership of that 50ft. of street side parking and demand fair use of it as we all should. This is a very bad precedence to set.

homechanger 5 years ago

Shouldn't the home owners who benefit from this privatization of public property have to pay all of us fair market price? Would the precedent be set for all properties to receive the same benefit?

gr 5 years ago

Yep. And maybe those two houses should too. Maybe no street parking should be allowed for anyone.

NewKansan 5 years ago

My gosh, all this steam over two parking spots. Give it a rest please. It's a simple process in other areas. If you move to a specific neighborhood, you have to get a permit from the city and stick it on your car and park in designated areas. I've done this in two other areas I've lived in (one similar to the size of Lawrence and another place a little bigger). Never had an issue with it...grabbed my permit and was good to go. Someone parks in the area without a permit, they get towed/get a closed. Why are some people trying to pick apart the city trying this out with 2 parking spaces? I'm sure the commission has other more important things to worry about. I swear, some of the people in this town have nothing else better to do than complain all day. Please get out a'll understand things a heck of a lot more.

gr 5 years ago

You fail to realize the issue. This isn't about two parking spots. This is about everyone paying for the benefit of the few. And it isn't about these two parking spots. This is about trying it out, and then doing it other places. But not all places.

What would be fair is to making all parking toll parking. Or no parking on the streets at all.

Some people have nothing better to do than to make everyone pay for their benefit.

NewKansan 5 years ago

High congestion areas are a pain in the butt, especially in college towns. Go up Illinois Street when classes are in session...streets are littered with cars from people that don't live there. I'm sure it's like that in other areas around campus too. All this does is allow neighborhoods around campus a little breathing room so people that live there can park on the street if needed. I'm sure the cost of the permit more than makes up for what you call their "benefit" of having the same chance of parking outside or relatively close to their home than less-congested neighborhoods do. It's a no-brainer.

NewKansan 5 years ago

I will agree with you on one thing (can't believe I just said that). Not sure how two spaces is going to be a good "pilot study." If they want to offer up permitted parking in their neighborhoods around campus to alleviate this problem, they should probably just plan it and present it in full at public meetings. That area that you were discussing around the Oread is nuts and I would hope for this type of plan if I lived there.

ItTakesAVillage 5 years ago

Seems like a sensible attempt to alleviate parking issues in some areas. This is no big deal,it is done in many cities and towns. Please tell me this is NOT a freedoms issue!

NewKansan 5 years ago

I wouldn't even waste your time with this one...the answers you'll hear from people will baffle and cause you to slam your head against a wall. Just move on and save yourself some frustration. :)

gr 5 years ago

Excepting this is a case where giving permits to people who live in the area is not the case. It's discriminating against certain people who live in the area in favor of certain others who live in the area.

Sylvie Rueff 5 years ago

In the future, it might be a good idea to make sure the number of off-street parking spaces matches the sleeping capacity/number of bedrooms of any structure, in single family and, especially, in multiple occupancy/multi-family dwellings. Streets are for driving and temporary parking. It should be in the building codes - with no exceptions.

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