Council to rethink parking on game day

A new city ordinance would allow businesses to sell open parking spots for local events.

by Katherine Lymn

Last fall’s flood of Gophers football fans left many Stadium Village businesses disgruntled with city parking rules that prevented them from selling their open spots on game days.

This may change, if the Minneapolis City Council reconsiders event parking regulations.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Cam Gordon will soon introduce an ordinance that would create a permit that businesses citywide can purchase, enabling them to sell their existing parking spots.

As it now stands, the permit would allow businesses to profit from parking for up to 15 events a year, Gordon said. The ordinance will not limit how much businesses can charge for parking.

Stadium Village businesses have sought to change the rules since they were fined last season for selling parking spots. While the businesses agree with the majority of the proposed ordinance, some hope the number of events will be increased.

“There’s a lot more going on with basketball and hockey than 15 [events],” said Jack LaBrasseur, operating partner of Arby’s in Stadium Village, which has 55 parking spots.

LaBrasseur said he would rather see the ordinance allow businesses to sell parking spots during any University of Minnesota sporting event.

This effort is a sign to Stadium Village businesses that councilmembers are listening to game-day concerns, said Nancy Rose Pribyl, president of the area’s business association.

“It was a good compromise,” said Darrin Mercil, owner of Mercil’s Campus Auto Repair, which has 40 parking spots on Washington Avenue. “Since the stadium changed the dynamics of the area, I feel that the city has to change some of their ordinances to accommodate the businesses.”

While he originally created the ordinance because of TCF Bank Stadium, Gordon said the proposal may be used citywide to solve similar parking issues, for events like this weekend’s Uptown Art Fair.

Both LaBrasseur and Pribyl appreciated the inclusiveness of the ordinance covering the whole city.

“It’s difficult on the part of the City Council to … manage the city in a block-by-block way,” Pribyl said. She added that including the whole city prevents any business owners from feeling they are on the outside of an opportunity.

Gordon said he will formally introduce the ordinance at the Aug. 6 City Council meeting.

The ordinance could pass through the City Council by Sept. 3, one week before the first home Gophers football game.

“It appears that it’s going to work,” LaBrasseur said, “but I would really like to see the city get this thing rectified before the football season.”

University Director of Community Relations Jan Morlock said it is sensible to allow businesses to use excess parking on game days, while also allowing multiple parking options for campus visitors.

“Our objective is to get people into parking as efficiently as possible so they’re not … driving around wasting their time,” Morlock said.