Many UH community members forego the battlefield caused by limited campus parking spaces by parking in residential neighborhoods surrounding the campus. Beginning Feb. 15 one of those neighborhoods will become a private parking zone.
The community of University Oaks, located off Wheeler Street and Cullen Boulevard, has certified with the City of Houston as a Residential Permit Parking neighborhood, according to a UH news release.
Any vehicle parked along streets within the neighborhood will require a parking permit.
UH alum and President of the University Oaks Civic Club Alex Cabrera said the city began placing signs at the end of January.
“It’s been an issue since I lived there in 2001,” Cabrera said, noting that the parking issue has been worse since UH started several construction projects.
To get the word out about the new parking policy, leaflets have been distributed on cars, warning tickets have been issued by the HPD, and a press release has been released on the University’s parking and transportation website.
Supply chain and logistics technology senior Stephany Marcucci lives in the University Oaks neighborhood.
Marcucci said that she recognizes that parking is an issue at the University, but it causes a lot of problems for people who live in the neighborhood.
“I pay a lot to live here,” Marcucci said. “Sometimes I have to park three streets away because of the students.”
Marcucci said that sometimes residents of the neighborhood call the police on UH community members who park in front of their houses.
David Boulos, a Hotel and Restaurant Management senior who has parked in the neighborhood for two years, had not heard about the neighborhood’s new parking policy.
“It’s expensive and ridiculous having to fight for a spot (on campus),” Boulos said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do now.”
Ginger Walker, UH Department of Public Safety executive administrative assistant, said that the University is standing by to help students with the transition.
“If a student’s car gets towed in the neighborhood, we will do everything we can to help them locate them,” Walker said, noting that the department has no affiliation with the neighborhood and no control over the enforcement of the new policy.
The City of Houston Parking Management Department will enforce the parking restriction, beginning with warning citations and eventually implementing parking tickets and towing.
Students without permits could still find free parking next to the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, with whom the University has a partnership.
An estimated 75 to 85 percent of students commute to campus every day, Jonas Chin, University Services program coordinator, said.
“We’re worried about the welfare of students, faculty and staff,” Chin said, noting that parking spaces are set to decrease by an estimated 1,929 spaces over the next two years as the University undergoes several construction projects.
“Things will not even out until 2013, when we will have a surplus,” Chin said. “Our number one priority is finding temporary parking spaces.”
Chin also said that some parking locations, like the lot by the Energy Research Park, are severely underused.
The Energy Research Park, located two miles from campus, has 200 parking spots available to UH commuters with economy passes. Those commuters could then take the shuttle to campus.
The University is also pushing UH community members to consider biking, walking, carpooling, riding METRO, and other alternative methods of transportation as spaces become rare.
The University’s goal is to have 5 percent of the campus community using alternative methods of transportation by the end of 2012.