Debate continues over Garden Rd.

By Laura Grandt

The issue of parking on Garden Road will be revisited at the May 19 city council workshop.

City Manager Jim Connors said the workshop will examine issues related to the council’s decision to reinstate parking on Garden Road, including whether resident complaints have continued, safety concerns based on police reports and student and university concerns.

“I think the idea was to not have changes or talk about it until the end of the semester,” Connors said.

Seventh Ward Alderman James Barr said he would like to see the parking continue to allow people to adjust.

“I’d be happy to revisit it, but I think that we need to let people in the area become more adjusted to the current parking situation,” Barr said.

Fourth Ward Alderman Mike Knowlton said he probably would not support a vote to change the parking situation. He said he was the swing vote who originally supported no parking on Garden Road, but changed his position when he drove down the road and felt safety was not a concern.

“With the amount of students parking there, there’s obviously a need,” Knowlton said.

Junior business communication major Nicole Fulton said she was going to the Campus Life Building, but the lot was full, so for the first time she parked on Garden Road.

Fulton did not take the bus because she has a night class and the buses do not go inside her complex after a certain time, she said.

“I don’t like walking a block at night,” she said.

Though some students welcome parking, some residents do not.

John Fairfield, an instructor in the music department who lives on Garden Road, is one of those residents.

“It was better when there was no parking; there was less car traffic and foot traffic,” he said, pointing to construction horses at the edge of his lawn and commenting on the situation in which motorists wait for parking spots to become available.

Fairfield said there was no parking on other streets around campus and wondered why Garden Road was an exception.

One potential problem is a parking spillover. Connors said students are beginning to park on Hillcrest Drive, east of Garden Road.

Knowlton said he was “dismayed at the people taking advantage” by parking outside of the area where parking is permitted.