Many students leave their cars parked on residential streets near campus to avoid parking tickets and paying for an expensive on-campus spot, if one is even available. But an ordinance approved last week by the Ann Arbor City Council may take away that option.
The new ordinance would put an odd-even parking rule into effect wherever neighborhood associations ask for it. The odd-even rule allows drivers to park on the side of the street with even numbered addresses on the even days of the month and on the opposite side on the odd days.
On the streets with only one side of parking, drivers would only be able to park there every other day.
City officials say the main goal of the new ordinance was not to discourage students from parking in residential areas, but rather “to help street maintenance, such as leaf pickup and street sweeping,” said Bill Wheeler, publics services director for the city of Ann Arbor. The ordinance would also prevent long-term parking in residential areas.
“I think it”s unfair for students who need places to park,” said LSA senior Yohan Ghang, who already spends at least 10 minutes every time he looks for a place to park, on or off campus.
Some Ann Arbor residents are also against the new ordinance.
“For me, (students parking in residential areas) is not that big of a deal,” said Joe Tesar of Lincoln Avenue. “It”s not so inconvenient unless they park in front of the fire hydrant or block the driveway.”
Trudy Hughes, a former University faculty member and resident of Oswego Street near Nichols Arboretum, said, “I see it as a limitation more than a benefit. It would be very difficult for us when we have many guests over.”
Students parking in residential areas “was one of the considerations when we moved here. But we really haven”t had too many problems,” she added.
In order for the new ordinance of odd-even parking to be put into effect, each neighborhood association would need to petition the city. Wheeler said none have requested it yet.
The University currently offers two day-parking lots, one on Glazier Way on North Campus and the other near Crisler Arena on South Campus. Permits for these lots are only available to upperclassmen and graduate students, said Patrick Cunningham, director of University Parking and Transportation Services.
Although the University is in the process of expanding parking for faculty and staff, it does not have any immediate plans for the expansion of student parking lots, Cunningham added.
Both the city and the University are hoping to encourage more students, especially those who commute to campus, to use the public transportation. Cunningham said all the Park & Ride lots offered by the city are free to the users. The State Street Commuter, Green Road, Pioneer High School and Maple Village Shopping Center lots all have Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses with service to the University. These buses are free to students with valid University identification.