Expand or Restrict Parking First?

17 Sep

By: Emily Eisenhuth

Do you live in Morgantown, WV? Do you go to school in Morgantown? If so then you know that parking here is a scarce resource and quite annoying to find on the streets or in parking buildings like the Mountainlair.

At the Morgantown City Council meeting on Sept. 15, the issue of restricting parking on Weaver St. sent James Giuliani to the podium begging to discuss and consider review. He stepped to the podium questioning why of all streets in Morgantown it be Weaver St. restricted?

Giuliani owns property all over Morgantown and on Weaver St. he own about a third and hopes one day to take up more property.

“I own a third of Weaver St., have an interest in it,” said Giuliani.  “Probably have a greater interest in more than half of Weaver St. and possibly the whole thing some time going up.”

This past year many streets in Morgantown were restricted, such as McLane Ave., leaving one side blue for parking passes for the residence to park and the other side yellow where no parking is allowed. It is up to the homeowners/landlords to get those passes and provide them to their residence.

Mayor Marti Shamberger, a council member, lives near Weaver St. and drives up and down it daily and notices how dangerous that road is to squeeze through especially when some people don’t seem to know how to parallel park. She is satisfied with the changes that will be made for Weaver St. because it gives emergency vehicles room and space to get through.

“My biggest concern is for emergency vehicles to get through,” said Mayor Shamberger. “I know it is very narrow and it is a challenge, but safety is the number one concern.”

She informs over a phone interview that she has gotten letters from the Fire Chief regarding his concern and the trash services not being able to go through the street.

On Weaver St. there is no parking lot or alternative for some people to park. Mayor Shamberger realizes that, but her herself has had to park two blocks from her house knowing that parking didn’t come with it.

By the end of the new business discussion at the City Council meeting it was passed, 6-1, that they would inform the homeowners of Weave St. and get parking restricted. It has not been declared if it is all of Weaver St. that will be restricted up to Oak St. or just certain areas on Weaver Street.

I personally live in Morgantown for school and when my roommates and I knew we had our own parking area it was a selling point. I do understand and agree with Mayor Shamberger that if the Fire Chief and other emergency vehicles are complaining that they can’t get through than some changes need to be made to better the safety of the people, but with so much parking restrictions they have to think about expanding parking. For instance, possibly making the Mountainlair bigger since thousands of students have to be on the downtown campus everyday. For me to drive my car is a pain because I know that I could end up spending hours searching for a spot or having to pay what seems like a little amount, $1.50 per hour, adds up to a decent amount especially if you go and park everyday.

Recently, the Mountainlair has increased from $1.25 to $1.50 per hour and some of the machines have changed to using a card only. I was a little shocked to see these arrangements because I didn’t understand why $1.25 wasn’t enough. Plenty of people park there during the day whether it’s faulty, staff, or students.

According to a recent article from 2012, the school only had at that time 7,500 parking spots when we house around 30,000 students and about 9,000 staff members a year. Why is there so few? I think Morgantown parking authorities and others need to advance parking opportunities before restricting parking all over. At least give people the chance to keep their cars somewhere convenient.

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