Monday, August 27, 2007

Parking Permit Program status report

(Common streetscape in Joaquin: Cars.....)
As all of you know, parking is one of our neighborhood's curses. We have too many cars, and not enough parking spaces for all of them. This is especially true in North Joaquin. Nearly 1 year ago, we submitted a parking permit plan to the City. The Mayor at that point instructed Community Development to begin work. Brent Wilde, one of the City's Senior Planners, began working on the issue. He has done a great deal of work, and frankly, I'm grateful. He has put together a report on the issue for the Mayor and the City Council, and that report contains his proposals for helping us with the problem. The City Council will begin working on the issue this fall. We expect the ordinance will be passed relatively soon, and will go into effect in January. That date may change, but that's my best guess at this point.
This week (Aug 27th to 31st) is our last week of relatively low volumes of cars in the neighborhood. Next week they'll come back in force once BYU resumes classes. The difference in both traffic and cars on the streets is unfortunately very noticeable. We suffer from a few core problems which I'd like to review:
  • Commuter traffic. We have a lot of folks who live further out who enjoy using our neighborhood as their parking lot each day while up at BYU. BYU has now changed its policies to offer free parking to students in most of its lots. Frankly, they have all the parking they need, it just isn't where students want it to be. It is over in the Marriott Center parking lot, and at the Stadium. It takes a good 15 minutes to walk from that end of campus to the south end, where most of the classrooms are. Shuttles aren't provided, so many find it easier to park in our neighborhood and walk up the hill. 800 North in particular is used for this.
  • Students parking on the street instead of in stalls provided by their apartment complexes/houses. Provo City Code has required landlords to provide offstreet parking for all cars operated from that residence since the 1950's. We all know that hasn't really happened. But, many complexes have adequate parking, and it sits half empty while the streets overflow with cars.
  • Maintaining an appropriate balance of parking to keep Joaquin a positive place for owner occupants to live.

The proposal has too many points to be covered quickly, and needs your attention. We will be having neighborhood meetings to cover it. It divides the neighborhood into 2 basic sections, mostly along 500 and 560 North. The "plan" for North and South Joaquin are quite different in many respects. South Joaquin's plan will likely offer all owner occupants at least one free on street permit, and allow homeowner's to purchase one more. All homeowners will be given first priority, and at least a 2 week period of time to obtain/purchase their permits. After that, tenants that live in apartments and houses with a Rental Dwelling License will be able to obtain permits. Brent has calculated exactly how many parking space there are in South Joaquin, and no more than that number will be sold. So, if we've got 2000 parking spots, no more than 2000 permits will be sold. Arrangements for visitor parking, Farrer elementary, local businesses, and churches are all part of the plan.

I encourage each of you to take a look at the plan and "study up." I can provide it to you as a pdf file. Your opinions will be needed.

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