GR residents complain about students parking of Pew lots

Residential area streets becoming overcrowded

By Peter Chhum | 1/22/14 12:27am

Some Grand Valley State University students are taking to the streets — literally. As an alternative solution to purchasing a permit to park on campus, students taking classes at GVSU’s Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids have instead been parking on residential streets.

“It’s a lot cheaper than paying however much it is to park in the lots or ramps,” said GVSU senior Jaclyn Conti. “If you can park for free on the streets and walk close to the same distance, why not?”

While some students have found this solution to be more convenient for their time and their wallets, others share similar feelings with Grand Rapids residents.

“Someone parked right in front of my house so I was forced to park on another street when I came home from class,” senior David Martin said. “I ended up getting a ticket because you can’t park on certain streets on certain days, but I had nowhere else to go. Also, all of these cars make it hard to navigate along with all of the snow we had.”

The parking ordinance Martin is referring to is one that is enforced by the city of Grand Rapids from Nov. 1 through April 1. Streets are marked to tell drivers to park on the even or odd numbered side of the street, depending on the date, to help alleviate some of the automobile congestion.

“Residential parking has always been a hot topic brought up by homeowners,” said Lieutenant Mark Mathis of the Grand Rapids Police Department. “What tends to happen is, when school starts up, students descend on these neighborhoods where residents are already parked, and they try to jam into spots that really aren’t there.”

While taking phone calls from residents and patrolling streets, officers are not necessarily looking for who lives there and who does not; they are looking for where and how students are actually parking their cars. The influx of cars makes it inconvenient for those who live in the area, which is the biggest problem.

“I never really thought of how it affects those who live there, but I can understand how much of a burden it probably causes,” Conti said. “People do pay a lot of money to live there.”

When parking in residential areas, drivers must be at least 20 feet away from an intersection or crosswalk, 15 feet from either side of a fire hydrant and 3 feet away from a driveway, Mathis said.

“The source of parking tickets and complaints in neighborhoods are really because of the way the cars are parked more than the street they are on,” he said.

While students are looking to evade fees brought on by purchasing parking permits, they should also be wary of how and where they are parking, which could result in a parking ticket.

“Most of the time there are just too many cars trying to fit in spaces they shouldn’t be,” Mathis said.

SIDEBAR INFO Permit pricing for the 2013-2014 academic year:

  • Full time rate (7 credits) = $350 a year/ $175 a semester
  • Part-time student rate (6 or less credits) = $182 a year/$91 a semester

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