It’s part of the school day for many students at AU downtown. Finding a place to park on a nearby street and not on campus.
“Yeah, parking is pretty tough. There’s not many spots available for students and the spots that are there…mainly faculty have first choice on them,” student Arjun Parikh.
This is why commissioners approved a permit parking program for the area so the people who live there can park in front of their homes, and to avoid cars being parked on both sides of the narrow streets.
“In case there’s an emergency that a fire struck or ambulance can get through with no problem at all,” says Commissioner Bill Fennoy.
For the permit parking plan to move forward, fifty percent of the property owners in the area must sign a petition saying they approve. But right now there appears to be growing opposition.
“I don’t want no permit. They don’t bother me. They got to have someplace to park, they got to park someplace,” said Willie Lee.
“So say let them stay, you didn’t sign the petition to let them?” I asked.
“I did not sign, will not sign,” said Lee.
A lot of the opposition is from residents living on Brown Street and Holley Street where nuisance parking isn’t as big an issue, but traffic engineers say it will be if permits are only required on some of the neighborhood streets.
“They’re college students, they’re not dumb. So what they’re going to do, they’re just going to move where it’s legal for them to park,” said Augusta Traffic Engineer John Ussery.
“If there was a way we could still park there, we probably still would,” said Parikh.
“So students are going to park where they can park for free?” I asked.
“Yeah and whatever is the most convenient,” he said.
Traffic engineers say the fate of the program is in the hands of the property owners there.
If less than 50 percent sign the petition to approve, it won’t move forward.
Commissioners can still hit the brakes if they have concerns with Mayor Davis saying that he wants to revisit the plan to administer the program.