For many Oxford residents, the inability to find a parking spot is a challenge. That’s why a new city ordinance was enacted to address the issue of University of Mississippi students and faculty parking in residential areas.
In the third story of a series, we examine parking issues at the University of Mississippi and Oxford.
Through the work of Robyn Tannehill, an Oxford Board of Aldermen member, and Matt Davis, director of parking for the city of Oxford, Section 102-665 of the Code of Ordinances has been amended to combat the lack of parking available for residents of South 5th Street and Tyler Avenue.
“I found after talking to students who parked there and having a parking official track the car tags of those parked in those areas for a few months, that most of these folks were students and faculty who, in fact, had university parking passes to park in University lots, but found these lots so inconvenient that they preferred parking on the city streets surrounding campus.”
Tannehill and Davis said they researched what other towns did to handle parking issues and collaborated for months in an effort to establish an effective plan to protect parking areas for residents.
“Matt Davis, director of parking, and I contacted communities and researched online to develop the permitted parking ordinance in place now,” said Tannehill. “This took many months and is not modeled after one particular ordinance we found, but is a combination of what we thought was the best idea from many.”
With the establishment of a new residential parking district, residents of this street now have two options for parking. The first option allows residents to park on the street for free Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a two-hour parking restriction, meaning they must move their vehicle every two hours during this restricted time to keep from receiving a parking citation.
Option 2 grants residents and tenants the ability to purchase a residential parking permit, authorizing them to leave their vehicle on the street for an unlimited amount of time. However, this excludes areas such as yellow curbs, driveways, sidewalks, fire hydrants or fire lanes.
“There is also a visitor permit that can be purchased by the resident/tenant that allows any of their current visitors to be able to park on the street for an unlimited time,” said Davis. “Each resident/tenant can only purchase two visitor hangtags.”
According to the City of Oxford website, the purpose of this ordinance is to reduce hazardous traffic conditions resulting from the use of streets within areas zoned for residential uses for the parking of vehicles by persons utilizing adjacent commercial, educational, recreational, governmental or institutional uses and to protect the residents of these districts from unreasonable burdens in gaining access to their residences.
Two readings of the ordinance concerning Section 102-Article XXI took place before the plan was finally adopted Oct. 6.
“The first reading of this ordinance was to create a new residential parking district,” said Davis. “The second reading amended Section 102-665 – Permit Fees was to update the permit fees where resident/tenant permits would be $50 per year and visitor permits would be $25 per year.”
Created in light of the overwhelming appeals from residents of South 5th Street and Tyler Avenue, this plan will not be enforced in other districts unless a public request is made.
“The only reason that we decided to amend Section 102 was due to a request by the public,” Davis said. “Each area received at least 85 percent approval from the residents living in the new residential parking districts. Only by public request will we consider adopting residential parking districts.”
With South 5th Street and Tyler Avenue acting as a test for the permit parking plan, the city is eager to see the potential this plan has for improving the parking situation in other districts.
“We are going to watch the current district for several months before we expand,” said Tannehill. “We want to be sure the plan is effective before it spreads to other areas.”
Ultimately, Tannehill recognizes that no plan is foolproof, but the City of Oxford hopes to be a supportive figure in tackling issues affecting LOU-residents.
“There is no perfect solution to this problem, but we believe the ordinance passed addresses the issue in the most effective way,” said Tannehill.
For more information on the new ordinance, visit the City of Oxford website: http://www.oxfordms.net/documents/departments/parking/revised-parking-ordinance.pdf. To see the streets affected by residential parking, visit residential-parking-district-map-current.