The College Park City Council voted unanimously twice on Tuesday night to establish permit-restricted parking at two different locations in the city.
Areas between 8200 to 8309 on Potomac Avenue and the 4700 block of Tecumseh Street will now require parking permits. The council held two public hearings, during which District 2 expressed the need for restrictions.
“That neighborhood is continuously becoming more challenged with parking,” city manager Scott Somers said.
Because there were no prior restrictions on parking on Potomac Avenue, located near the southern end of the College Park Trolley Trail, University of Maryland students and commuters have parked there for free, resident Harry Pitt said. This problem is compounded because the end of the street is two feet narrower than normal, he added.
When seven-foot-wide cars park on both sides of the 24-foot-wide street, Pitt said, that leaves only 10 feet of space for cars and other vehicles to get by, making it difficult for residents to drive on the street and for service vehicles to get through.
“We have a major problem at the end of the street,” District 1 resident Eric Justh said.
Lori Simpson, a District 2 resident, said the problem is most pronounced when this university has classes. The problem has worsened since this university eliminated thousands of parking spaces and other neighborhoods, including Lakeland, implemented permit-restricted parking, Pitt said.
“For years and years I’ve had no problem, up until I’d say the last four or five,” Pitt said.
The city required signatures from 60 percent of homeowners on the street up to the nearest intersecting street to submit a petition, Pitt said. This petition works on a 100-block basis, extending restrictions for addresses between 8200 and 8309.
District 2 resident John Dollymore said students have been parking on the 4700 block of Tecumseh Street for free as well, adding that he would support 24/7 permit parking on his street.
“While it is free parking, I can’t get in and out of my driveway,” said resident Christine Dollymore. “We need some help.”
The council unanimously voted to enact permit-restricted parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from midnight to 6 a.m. Saturday through Sunday at both locations, which District 2 Councilman P.J. Brennan called “less draconian.” Restricted parking will take effect as soon as signs are put in place.
“I am not excited about permit parking,” Pitt said. “I don’t like the inconvenience of having to get guest passes and things like that, but it’s become the lesser of two evils.”
Somers said the city will likely see more permit parking requests on roads close to Route 1 and Lakeland Road in the future.
Thomas Pinello, who lives at Oasis Condominiums on Tecumseh Street, said he was highly opposed to establishing permit-restricted parking on his block.
“There is always parking space on that block,” Pinello said. “I’ve never had to go anywhere else. … It’s 10 dollars that I shouldn’t need to spend.”
Permit-restricted parking will not take long to take effect, Somers said. He said the city needs to advertise to residents that it now requires a permit to park at the locations.
Brennan said the narrow roads, one-way streets and commercial district of Berwyn make parking more difficult than elsewhere in the city.
“We certainly want to be a friendly place for people to park and patronize,” Brennan said.
District 3 Councilman John Rigg said the two public hearings indicate the city needs a better way to address parking issues.
“As we continue to experience population growth, this issue will continue to bubble up,” Rigg said.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified one of the streets receiving permit-restricted parking as Tecumseh Avenue and Tecumseh Road. The street is Tecumseh Street. This article has been updated.