Frustrated with a lack of parking space, the North Burns Park and Oxbridge neighborhood associations have submitted a petition to the Ann Arbor City Council to create parking districts that will require a special permit for cars parked longer than two hours between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Peter Nagourney, co-chair of the North Burns Park Association, said the parking problem can be attributed to daily commuters parking their cars on the neighborhood’s streets.
The parked cars make it difficult for residents, service personnel and visitors to park anywhere near resident’s homes, Nagourney said.
“The problems concern the environment, street safety and inconvenience for residents,” Nagourney said, “Long-term car storage has made it impossible for the city to clean streets, remove leaves and do proper snow clearance on a regular schedule,”
Prue Heikkinen, president of the Oxbridge Neighborhood Association, said parking is a problem that affects everyone in the city, but that the daily commuters who take advantage of residential parking have become a great annoyance to residents.
“If I’m paying thousands of dollars in property taxes, I should at least be allowed one spot in front of my house,” Heikkinen said.
Jesse Levine, president of Michigan Student Assembly, said he does not agree with further restrictions on public parking.
“I’ve received my fair share of parking tickets and am against further regulations that would impinge upon public parking spaces at the expense of students,” Levine said.
Levine said the proposed parking policies for the Oxbridge and North Burns Park neighborhoods are misguided, and the timing couldn’t be worse for students.
Levine and Stuart Wagner, MSA’s Campus Improvement Commission chair, scheduled a meeting with Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje to discuss a multitude of issues — parking being one of them.
Wagner said various solutions to the parking problem are being pursued, including a delay to the parking districts vote until the fall when more students will be in the city.
Connor Henley, president of Pi Kappa Phi, agrees with Heikkinen that a reduction in parking will affect students, but he said that most of the parking is misused.
“Obviously, any reduction of parking spaces near the University community would adversely affect students. However, from my observation, the majority of parking spots utilized within the Burns Park district are for long-term storage or extended parking,” Henley said.
Even though students parking in the neighborhood have led to the parking problem, students living in fraternities, co-ops and group houses in the area have been involved in neighborhood meetings to work on a solution, Nagourney said.
“Our neighborhood association has been working on this problem for over two years,” Nagourney said.
“During this time students living in group housing within the neighborhood have always been informed about neighborhood meetings, have attended these meetings and have been involved in discussions that led up to the parking district proposal.”