Activists propose one-side parking for Dinkytown

by Jake Kapsner

That elusive free parking spot near the University campus could soon be even harder to find if a small group of grass-roots organizers in the east Marcy-Holmes neighborhood has its say.
The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Revitalization Program Transportation Committee proposes a year-long, one-side-only parking test that would take place along a stretch of 17 city blocks in Dinkytown this fall.
The plan is a brainchild of residents seeking safer streets for bicyclists and decreased traffic flow.
But Dinkytown Business Association members voted against the proposal Thursday at the association’s monthly general membership meeting.
They cited several reasons, including negative effects on business and a long-standing lack of parking in the area.
“We’re giving it a non-combative no,” chuckled Barry Bosold, the association’s vice president. But, he said, the association is willing to work with the committee to fix the parking crunch.
However, the parking plan could pass as is with approval from 51 percent of the affected properties on both sides of the street, said Jim Daire, a Minneapolis Transportation Systems planner who works with neighborhoods.
If the plan gets passed, Daire needs to certify the petition process’s legitimacy before stamping his approval.
Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association general members will consider the plan for the first time at their May 19 general membership and June 2 board meetings.
The proposal has support from Joan Campbell, the City Council member who represents the Marcy-Holmes area.
“I think it’s a very creative solution to a very difficult problem,” she said. “People could learn how to use public transportation.”
From a pool of 67,000 University students, staff and faculty, 43 percent commute alone in a vehicle each day, said Cari Hatcher, public relations representative for Parking and Transportation Services.
University officials said the matter should be left up to the neighborhood.
While the plan would make parking more difficult for commuters, the community has the right to solve its problems with one-side parking, said Ann O’Loughlin, University coordinator of Community and Collegiate Relations.