Permit parking proposed in CARAG

CARAG — In response to concerns from residents about some streets being too crowded and unsafe after sundown, City Council Member Ralph Remington (10th Ward) has proposed permit parking during late-night hours in parts of the neighborhood.

Remington’s proposal includes permit or “critical” parking from 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Monday-Saturday along Girard, Fremont and Emerson Avenues between 31st and 33rd Streets, 32nd Street from Hennepin Avenue to Emerson and a southern stretch of 31st between Girard and Emerson.

Parking would be open to the public all day Sunday because of activities at Joyce Church, located at 1219 W. 31st St.

“This was constructed based on complaints from people in the area,” said Remington, who lives in the proposed permit-parking zone.

At a community meeting earlier this month, he said another reason for the plan was to get Uptown businesses to think of alternative nighttime parking strategies.

“This will hopefully put enough pressure on businesses in the community so they will start offering shared parking,” Remington said.

Fremont and Emerson from Lake Street to 31st and the north side of 31st between Fremont and Emerson already has permit parking from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Remington originally planned to incorporate that section into the new timeframe, but later decided to leave it as is.

To get permit parking in Minneapolis, residents need to circulate petitions in a proposed zone, receiving a minimum of 75 percent support from property owners. Renters do not have a vote, only their landlords do, but Remington said tenants could organize and communicate their opinions to building owners.

If the petitions are successful, a city engineer will review the zone and the City Council must approve it.

Once in place, residents in the zone have to pay $35 per permit the first year and a $25 renewal fee per permit each following year. The city allows a maximum of two permits per licensed driver.

A one-year visitor permit (one allowed per household) is an additional $10 and one-day permits are $2 a piece (10 permits maximum per household).

Opinions about Remington’s proposal were mixed among the roughly 30 people from CARAG and nearby neighborhoods that attended the community meeting.

Carl Scott, who lives at 32nd and Girard, said he welcomed permit parking because his street is always crowded late at night and the people who park there are loud and have damaged property. He said he was also concerned for his wife, who often has to park blocks away from home when she returns from work, sometimes with their baby in tow.

“Those security concerns would be alleviated by neighborhood parking,” Scott said.

Trudi Campbell, who lives at 32nd and Fremont, said she was also leaning in favor of the parking proposal because she often has a hard time finding parking in front of her house.

“There are times when people have parties and you literally cannot park,” she said.

But Campbell was concerned that the streets might still be too crowded if everyone in the nearby apartment buildings received a permit and she didn’t like the idea of paying for parking annually.

Barbara York, who lives at 33rd and Emerson, said she was concerned the plan would push parking too far south of Uptown, resulting in long walks for employees and Uptown’s nighttime crowd.

“Public parking is needed so residents can park here and there is an attractive option for the tourists, the visitors, the employees,” she said.

ECCO resident and board member Gary Farland said the proposal would create problems for his neighborhood.

“Anytime you have streets that are owned near other streets, you will push the parking elsewhere,” said Farland. “It’s poor public policy to isolate streets.”

At an ECCO board meeting days after Remington’s presentation, the group unanimously opposed the plan.

Remington said he doubted East Calhoun would experience an influx of parking but argued that many residents in that neighborhood don’t need street parking because they have garages.

“The density is much greater in (CARAG) than you would ever find in ECCO,” Remington said. “You can’t look at them the same way.”

Aaron Rubenstein, a CARAG board member who lives on the eastern edge of the proposed parking zone, said he wasn’t afraid of parking getting pushed his way. He said he saw the proposal as a way to get the attention of Uptown businesses that might be able to improve their parking strategies.

“I’m not terribly concerned that if this goes into affect people will start parking all over by my home,” Rubenstein said. “I think this is one way to get businesses to start looking at alternatives.”

Remington said the parking zone and hours might change based on community feedback. But he said petition carriers were being sought.

“If you don’t want this, you don’t sign to have it done,” he said.

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or jweyer@mnpubs.com.