Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution to create a residential parking district for Oxbridge and North Burns Park residents last week despite objections from members of the Michigan Student Assembly.
MSA President Jesse Levine and Rep. Stuart Wagner spoke at the beginning of the meeting and were upset because the council was voting on a resolution in the summer when most students affected by the parking change are gone.
“37,500 students live in Ann Arbor, yet tonight it feels like we are not represented,” Levine said. “Tonight’s a slap in the face.”
Wagner began his speech by presenting the council with earplugs, to symbolize what Wagner believed is the City Council’s relationship with students.
He then looked around the room and asked, “Where are the students?”
One residential parking district will be located between Forest and Washtenaw Avenue, south of Hill Street and another between Washtenaw Avenue and Geddes Avenue. Parking will be limited to two-hours per car, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Neighborhood residents will be able to purchase up to four parking permits per house at $40 per pass, allowing residents to park anywhere in the district during the year.
The program aims to preserve parking for residents, instead of out-of-town commuters who use the neighborhood like a park-and-ride parking lot, said Council member Jean Carlberg (D-3rd Ward).
Council member Leigh Greden (D-3rd Ward) said that the development of the resolution included input from students who live in the neighborhoods, which includes many fraternity and sorority houses.
“I have received a total of zero complaints about this program from students that live in this neighborhood,” Greden said.
Carlberg said it was necessary to pass the resolution now, even though it is during the summer, so there would be time for the University to notify faculty, staff and students about the change before their return in the fall.
Wagner said that the students would probably not be notified of the changes and would return in the fall expecting to park where they have in the past.
“Most students expect those parking spaces to be available, and now there will be this change,” he said.
Wagner added that the City Council’s actions were reminiscent of last summer’s activities when it was proposed that couches be banned from front porches. The couch ban, however, did not pass.
“I was extremely upset that they would take this action two years in a row,” Wagner said.Wagner also said he felt that passing this resolution during the summer was discriminating against him as a member of the Jewish community, with Hillel and the Chabad House located inside the parking district.
Council member Joan Lowenstein (D-2nd Ward) said that since the parking regulations only took place on weekdays, worship services would not be affected.
Wagner said that it would still be a problem for activities on weeknights during the school year, which sometimes start before 6 p.m.
Mayor John Hieftje, who supported the resolution, attempted to postpone the vote until the second city council meeting in September to give students a chance to be heard, but this motion was struck down.
Carlberg said postponing the vote would not provide enough time for signs to be posted and residents to adjust.