Off-street parking idea proves unpopular

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

The Brookings Ad Hoc Parking Committee is in the process of reviewing on-street parking throughout the city of Brookings and at one point were considering eliminating some on-street spots.

“Traffic safety is a vital problem in our community, and street parking is one of the key problems,” said Brookings Councilman John Kubal.

Kubal said on-street parking can make it hard to navigate down a narrow street.

At the Feb. 23 Committee meeting, members reviewed various alternatives for street parking. One of these options was something that the city of Boulder, Colo., a college town, like Brookings, uses.

The Boulder parking zone ordinance states that the city manager can issue parking permits for non-resident commuters that park in front of certain residential properties, much like the students of SDSU do when they park near areas like Crothers Engineering Hall. Currently, SDSU students do not pay to park on city streets.

Committee member Beverly Dobbs did suggest at the meeting that by selling parking permits for city streets, it would then give students an alternative to buying a campus parking pass, and they could then just pay to park on the street.

Requiring people to pay to park on the street, Dobbs said in the meeting, could result in less street parking.

“I feel that it is extremely unsafe to drive down some of these narrow streets with cars parked on both sides,” said Dobbs. “Parking permits would be one alternative.”

The Students’ Association’s Board of Directors put together a resolution opposing the use of the Boulder parking code.

“Currently, most of these driveways can barely hold two cars, and if they eliminate all street parking (except for the purchased permits), then some students would have nowhere to park outside their house,” said Hassan Ali, SA senator. “Completely eliminating street parking is not at all a solution.”

As of right now, the Brookings committee has made no changes and is still discussing alternatives for street parking.

When Ali was asked in the meeting if he thought the parking on campus was sufficient, he said, “There are enough spaces, but some of those lots are not located near the main campus, like the Performing Arts Center and the lot by the stadium. It’s inconvenient for students. I don’t think there is adequate parking.”

Kubal responded to Ali’s comment saying, “It may be convenient for students to park on the streets near campus, but they are then inconveniencing the residents that live in those houses (that they are parking on the street in front of).”

Another topic that the committee discussed was the fact that when students or anyone, for that matter, parks in front of a residential property it can sometimes be hard to back out of that home’s driveway.

The committee briefly discussed other alternatives to the Boulder parking plan including making some streets in Brookings one-way streets, to put a stop to having oncoming traffic on narrow streets with on-street parking.

Other alternatives that were discussed at the meeting included the possibility of having street parking on only one side of the street, like many Brookings streets are currently, or the possibility of using parking meters.

“There are a number of smaller solutions like this that we could use rather than doing something as big as parking permits,” Kubal said in the meeting. “I suggest we continue to talk about this at next month’s meeting.”

No decisions have been finalized and the committee is continuing to discuss the possibility of finding solutions to traffic congestion on narrow streets from on-street parking.