Some University of Minnesota area residents are worried by the lack of parking caused by new apartments, bike lanes and a growing student population.
At a Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association meeting Wednesday, residents highlighted many of the neighborhood’s parking troubles and how to solve them.
One of the main problems residents raised was the increasing number of developing apartments in the area.
Julie Iverson, long-term resident of Marcy-Holmes, said new complexes add density and continue to attract vehicles to the area.
Under current city code, apartments must provide a parking space for every two bedrooms.
Iverson also said the rising student population is an issue. “More and more students come to the [University of Minnesota] with cars.”
But recent University graduate Elizabeth Moy said high cost apartments and parking garage charges pushed her to use street parking.
She also criticized the University’s lottery parking system. “The U is pretty restrictive on the number of spots available which limits the number of students who can park.”
Apartment complexes on campus charge fees ranging from about $99 at Prime Place apartments to $165 per month at The Bridges.
Even with included parking, apartment complexes advertise street parking as an alternative.
Some buildings also appeal for variance from the ordinance to offer less parking, pushing more people to park on streets — an issue cited at the meeting.
Despite this, the city still grants reduced parking variances to developments in areas with scarce parking.
Allowing for variance is determined on a case by case basis, said Jason Wittenberg, Land Use, Design and Preservation Manager for the city.
For example, Wittenberg said, a residential building can get variance for fewer parking spaces if it is near public transportation.
In the past decade, he said the city has cut parking for residential complexes since the space is expensive.
Fewer parking options also encourage residents to walk, bike or use public transit, Wittenberg said, which the city already wants.
One solution brought up at Wednesday’s meeting was the use of the critical parking permits.
The city gives limited parking and parking meter options which are available to everyone, but with a time limit.
A critical parking permit would let only those with the permit — typically area residents — park off street and limit options for commuters and those from out of town.
A critical parking zone requires the approval of 75 percent of the neighborhood area and a city study that shows a need for it.
Ward 3 City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate Jacob Frey previously told Streets MN he supported moving away from reducing parking requirements as a way to increase space for more housing and pedestrian access.
Minneapolis should move toward being a pedestrian and bicycle centered city, Frey told Streets MN.