The College Park City Council voted unanimously to require permits to park on Osage Street at its virtual meeting Tuesday.
The permits, which the council discussed after residents complained about non-resident cars crowding the Berwyn neighborhood, will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and midnight to 6 a.m. on weekends, according to city documents.
Each household in the permit-restricted area will receive five permits free of cost, District 2 council member Llatetra Brown Esters said.
The original ordinance the council discussed proposed permit parking for Osage Street and a section of Pontiac Street between Osage Street and 49th Avenue. But after hearing community concerns, the council amended the ordinance to only include Osage Street.
Community members raised the concerns at a divided public hearing during Tuesday’s meeting.
Alexander Lins, who has lived on 49th Avenue for about 20 years, said he opposed the Pontiac Street permits because having fewer cars on the street would cause drivers to go too fast in the area.
“When the cars are parked there, it diminishes 50 percent of their speed,” Lins said.
Lins called on the city to conduct a traffic study in the area to determine the impact of mandating permits.
College Park resident Kelly Jordan echoed Lins’ concerns. Having fewer cars on Pontiac Street due to permit parking would make the area less safe when walking her kids to school, she said.
“It’s a little bit counterintuitive that having permit parking would actually make it less of a walkable place, but that’s what I believe,” Jordan said.
Jeffrey Wack, a University of Maryland student who rents a house on 49th Avenue with roommates, also voiced his opposition to requiring permits.
“We don’t see that there’s currently an issue with the parking situation,” Wack said. “We have different cars, not always the same cars that we use, outside of our house with the residents in our house and also friends of ours, so we would prefer to just keep the parking free to use.”
Zach Rice, another 49th Avenue resident, expressed concern that permit parking would push non-residents to simply park on 49th Avenue rather than Pontiac Street. This would block city residents’ access to Berwyn Neighborhood Park, which is located on 49th Avenue, he said.
Others, such as Osage Street resident Brian O’Hanlon, supported permit parking.
Having non-resident cars in the area, especially during big events where many people park on neighborhood streets, “decreases the sense of community,” O’Hanlon said, and permits would help clarify who is and is not a resident.
District 3 council member John Rigg said he supported the final ordinance because it would create space for residents to park in front of their houses. Permit parking is common in the Calvert Hills neighborhood, where he lives, and does not have many everyday consequences, Rigg said.
“It seems like a big change, but in actuality doesn’t really change the way you live your life very much on a daily basis at all,” Rigg said.
Esters said the council will likely hear more permit parking discussions in the future.
“It’s just a matter of listening to our residents to see what the issues may be,” Esters said.