First neighborhood parking permits approved by city council

News Reporter

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San Marcos city councilmembers approved the first proposal under a neighborhood parking permit plan Tuesday that will ensure unobstructed streets for residents of a West Campus neighborhood.

The program allows neighborhoods to petition to receive permits which, if approved, would allow officers to ticket parked vehicles lacking permits, regardless of who owns the vehicle. Residents at the 600 block of Burt Street, the 500 block of Hanson Street and the 600-700 blocks of Maury Street petitioned councilmembers to receive such permits.

The proposal passed with a 6-0 vote April 15 with Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt, Place 1, who resides in the neighborhood, abstaining from the vote.

The approval of the neighborhood’s request comes after the establishment of the program late last year in response to students parking in residential areas and walking to campus, said neighborhood resident Shannon Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said the decision to start the petition process was mutually agreed upon by the residents of the three streets and was not brought on due to parking issues with Texas State students. Instead, the problem was caused by university construction workers who were obstructing emergency response workers’ access and other public services.

“We have small, narrow streets, and what really breaks the camel’s back is how they would park on both sides of the road,” Fitzpatrick said. “Trash trucks and delivery trucks could not get by, and god forbid you need an ambulance.”

The choice was specifically made to petition the city to designate the streets as residential parking areas rather than no parking zones, said Ning Zou, transportation engineer for the City of San Marcos.

“The problem with mandating no parking between nine and five is that then no one can park on the streets, not even them,” Zou said. “This program is more flexible.”

The permits, which cost $5 each, must be renewed every calendar year, Zou said. Each household may hold up to three residence permits and two guest permits, for a maximum of five permits per household, Zou said.

Temporary construction permits are available at no cost for residents whose properties are undergoing maintenance projects that requiring work vehicles to park on the street, providing the time span of the project does not exceed 45 days, Zou said.

Zou said there are other residents of neighborhoods who are considering formulating their own petitions, such as Elm Hill Court, and the two blocks of Blanco Street from Roger to Burleson.

The ordinance went into effect the day after its approval Tuesday, and vehicles lacking permits will be ticketed by the San Marcos Police Department, effective immediately, according to the terms of the proposal.