The Daily Reflector
Contributed imageThe University Neighborhood Revitalization Workgrop proposed that all on-street parking spaces in the historic college district be permitted to residents only. The yellow and pink areas on the map would be affected by the change.
By Wesley Brown
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
A study group appointed to revive the Tar River University Neighborhood recommended its first change in city policy Tuesday, suggesting that all on-street parking spaces in the historic college district be permitted to residents only.
While the proposal still has to pass the Greenville City Council and the Parking and Transportation Commission before it becomes law, officials believe that they can have the ordinance approved by the two boards as early as April and on the books before the beginning of East Carolina University’s fall semester.
The new standard was painted Tuesday as an act of compromise that touches on almost all areas of parking misconduct in the university area, clamping down on the student renters and commuters who abuse existing city regulations by parking on front and rear lawns and in zones where permits are required.
One component missing, though, was the question of enforcement, which the University Neighborhood Revitalization Workgroup purposely avoided, instead opting to clearly and simply state its objectives to council, who they said can figure out how to fund and execute the plan.
“I think we found a fair compromise, placing additional restrictions on areas where complaints are high and violations are many,” Philip Rogers, chief of staff to ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard and workgroup member, said. “We made a lot of progress and are moving in the right direction.”
The workgroup moved forward with permitting all on-street parking spaces between Elm, Fifth and Reade streets to the Tar River — an area that includes 200 acres of residential property — against the advice of Assistant City Traffic Engineer Stacey Pigford.
Only committee member James C. Sullivan opposed the plan.
Pigford wanted to keep controlled parking as it is in the university neighborhood, where the city issues three $5 permits to each household on a particular block only after 51 percent of its residents have signed a petition in favor of the move.
The engineer had no legal precedent for her request, except that she felt it would be smart to gain majority support for a plan in which only about half of the area has voluntarily enrolled.
“We should not force people to get permits,” Pigford said.
The bulk of the costs for the new program would be in paying for signs and painting curbs that mark restricted on-street parking areas, Pigford said.
Permits would be granted yearly by Public Works after a renter produces a copy of the lease.
They would provide on-street parking privileges in the Tar River area Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Also under the plan, each house or duplex in the neighborhood would be limited to four cars and be required to have all rear-yard parking areas improved with an all-weather material, shielded by fencing or evergreen trees, and maintained in a “safe, sanitary and neat condition.”
Special exemptions could be granted to properties with extenuating circumstances.
Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden said he felt good about the plan but advised the workgroup that enforcement of the new plan would require “a lot of attention,” not all of which would be alleviated by new technology that scans license plates to determine the identity of violators.
The chief said that while his department is searching for ways to offset costs, he foresees some additional costs in hiring a third officer devoted exclusively to monitoring the permitting plan. City parking enforcement only has two officers and two patrol vehicles.
“This would take care of a lot of issues,” Aden said of the plan on the behalf of Greenville police. “It looks solid, and we are behind it 100 percent.”
At its meeting on April 16 the University Neighborhood Revitalization Workgroup plans to address trash collection issues in the Tar River and College View Historic districts.
Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.
via The Daily Reflector.