Public worries new student housing will cause more parking problems
If you park off campus, get ready to walk even farther. A proposed expansion of the UMD-area resident parking permit zone could make it even more difficult to park on residential streets around campus.
Residents met at the old Woodland Middle School Monday night to discuss the new proposed parking permit zone that would affect the neighborhood directly south of the old middle school. Bounded by East Clover Street to the north, Irving Place to the east and East Kent Road to the south, the proposed zone would limit East Eighth Street and East College Street to resident-only parking, according to a press release from the City of Duluth.
Matthew Kennedy, the parking manager for the City of Duluth, said the city’s residential parking permit restricts parking to only residents within the zone. In addition, the resident must park within 500 feet of their residence. These restrictions are enforced on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the school year.
Concerned citizens of the affected neighborhood brought the proposed expansion to the city.
According to Kennedy, students parking in the neighborhood have always been a contentious issue. With the new development of the BlueStone Lofts student housing, citizens are concerned that it will stress parking even more.
Bonnie Fuller-Kask lives on East College Street and has never had an issue with the students that live on her street.
“I like the kids that live on my street,” said Fuller-Kask. “They’re nice kids.”
She is more worried about the new development and how it will affect the community.
“Now I see this development going in and adding all these new cars,” she said. “You have a development with not enough parking.”
The parking deficiency she is so concerned about is the addition of nearly 300 new residents to the area next August when students are planned to move into the new development, but only enough parking spots for about 160 cars.
“And they wonder why the neighbors get angry,” Fuller-Kask said.
According to Mick Conlan, a representative from Summit Management, the company who is developing the property, BlueStone Lofts is going to be located close to campus to encourage walking or biking to school. Because of this emphasis, the City of Duluth has allowed the property to have enough onsite parking for only about one-third of its occupants with the expectation that some students won’t have vehicles.
Like Fuller-Kask, many other residents of the surrounding neighborhoods see a problem with this. Most of them foresee issues with overflow parking spilling into the surrounding neighborhood. Residents expressed the need for 24-7, year-round parking to keep non-residents from parking on the street. This is a significant difference from the parking restrictions now in place that only run from September to June, during the daytime.
For now, parking is still allowed on the affected streets, but that could come to a halt soon. If the proposition is approved by the city’s Parking Commission, those streets could be off limits as early as November.
BY ERIC LEMKE firstname.lastname@example.org