PROVO The verbal tug of war between Brigham Young University students and the Provo City Council over parking on the streets south of campus hasn't always been logical.
Stunned by the very idea of having to pay to park on a public street, some students provided feedback that has altered the council's proposal. Others tossed off lame complaints any good professor would slap with a fat red "F."
One recent exchange provided a jocular juxtaposition to the roles played by the two sides. Some students have accused the council of being paternalistic while, clearly, others have acted like questioning kids in a spat.
In a meeting with students last week, Joaquin Neighborhood Chairman Kurt Peterson pointed out that Salt Lake City restricts parking on the streets around the University of Utah, Orem restricts parking around Utah Valley State College and Logan restricts parking around Utah State University.
A student channeling lectures on peer pressure interrupted with the time-honored parental retort: "If Logan jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?"
That tone and others are evident in the hundreds of e-mails and faxed messages stuffed into a special, expandable binder in the council office. Most are against the proposal to limit on-street parking in the North Joaquin Neighborhood to residents. One came from as far as London. Some were hyperbolic, calling council members "communists," "Nazis" and extortionists.
"It would be stupid to charge people for parking on the street," BYU student Donny McClellan wrote. Not satisfied, he added in a second e-mail, "While we're at it, why don't we charge people to walk on the sidewalks, too?"
The council could put an end to the debate when it meets tonight at 7 in its chambers at the Municipal Building, 351 W. Center.
The program would allow only neighborhood residents to park on the streets between University Avenue and 900 East and from the southern border of BYU at 800 North down to 500 North.
City Council Chairman George Stewart said the parking permit program is designed to benefit BYU students who live in the area. He claimed that is even more true due to changes in the plan spawned by student feedback. Many of the students who said they read the proposal agreed it could help but had suggestions, some of which the council is considering.
Instead of being enforced 24 hours a day and requiring $2 visitor permits, the permit program now calls for enforcement from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and no visitor permits. Instead of being enforced every day but Sunday, the proposal now would enforce permits only Monday through Friday. And instead of being enforced year-round, it now would be enforced only from September through April.
Stewart said the council, based on student feedback, will consider adding some two-hour parking spots on each block to help alleviate any remaining concerns about visitor parking. That change would require an additional vote by the council at a later date if the parking permit program is approved tonight.
If approved, the program would begin in September.
"I don't know why if you were a resident of North Joaquin you wouldn't want this program now," Stewart said. "It reduces traffic in the neighborhood as well as providing enough parking for everyone who lives there."
The city would sell the annual, $25 hanging permits to homeowners, landlords and business owners. Landlords then would provide them to tenants. The permit holder can transfer the permit to other vehicles.
The city would issue only enough permits to cover the difference between off-street parking spaces provided by landlords and the number of legal occupants authorized by city code to live in homes and apartments in the neighborhood.
Some area rentals have more tenants than allowed by city ordinance, an issue the council hopes to address through the parking permit program.
Some landlords and residents expressed frustration that the parking permit program was necessitated by the council's decision earlier this year to approve a major new apartment complex called Joaquin Village. The city generally requires developers to provide .75 parking spaces per tenant. The council approved Joaquin Village, which will have 952 tenants, with .62 parking spaces per tenant.
At the time, Joaquin Village promised to rent many of its apartments to students who don't have cars. And councilmembers told unhappy neighborhood residents that they would implement a parking permit program to ensure the complex complied. Joaquin Village will be ineligible for parking permits, Stewart said.The council codified the plan. Joaquin Village will not, by city ordinance, be allowed to obtain an occupancy permit unless the city has a parking permit program.