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Wildcat parking: City tries to keep students from taking neighborhood spots

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 22:10:30-04

Now that UA is back in session we can look forward to lively students, boisterous sports events---and parking hassles.

Students, especially new ones sometimes try to beat the cost of parking on campus, and stash their cars in nearby neighborhoods---where homeowners need the spots for themselves.

That's why students could be in for a ticket.

UA sells about 17 thousand permits for on campus parking each year.  But the University has more than 40 thousand students, and plenty of faculty and staff.

People with cars but no permits have to go somewhere. some go to the neighborhoods and try to take parking homeowners need for their cars.

Students have flooded back to campus.  They're on foot.  They're on bikes.  They're in cars.

Where they park those cars can be trouble.

You're a student.  Maybe you are new to campus.  You are late to class.  You are scanning, scanning, scanning for a parking space and you just can't find anything.  So finally, you take a chance and try the neighborhoods.

But a lot of the homes around UA do not have garages or driveways.  They can't afford to have student cars soak up the space on the street.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Mik White: “What's it like when you try to park in front of your own house and you can't?”  

White: “It's frustrating at times, certainly. If you don't have off-street parking it can be a real challenge.  You just have to park further away.  Sometimes you're carrying groceries for quite some time."

Mik White is President of the nearby Iron Horse Neighborhood Association.  He says the city does a good job ticketing drivers who do not have neighborhood parking permits.

For now city ticket agents are just writing warnings unless there's a safety hazard---a way to educate the new students before they get hit with a fine that starts at 62 dollars and zooms to over a hundred if you pay late.

A permit for a UA garage runs 672 dollars per year, which Lauren Aguirre just paid.

“'It hurts to pay that much but you got to do what you got to do. Craig: Have you ever been tempted to park in the neighborhoods? No. No. Because I don't want to get a ticket and I would be mad if somebody did that to me."

When UA football starts that will leave to some neighborhood parking problems as fans hunt for places to park.

The city parking director says the people in the neighborhoods really need their spots so work out another way to get to campus.