Promoting parking meters in West Campus

Hannah Lapin

Home to countless apartment buildings, restaurants, coffee shops and more, West Campus is a big draw to UT students. Just minutes away from campus, this convenient location with endless living options makes West Campus the ideal place for UT students to look for housing. The one problem with West Campus, however, is the lack of parking spots.

Students wishing to visit West Campus could potentially be out of luck; parking is an absolute nightmare. Many students have to park far away from their intended destinations, which can be very unsafe at night. Other students may not be able to find a spot at all. Furthermore, the people that are lucky enough to find parking spots are unlikely to leave them since they do not have to pay, and their chances of finding another spot are slim.

Fortunately, the city of Austin is aware of the parking situation in West Campus and looking for potential solutions. The University Area Partners, a group of stakeholders in the West Campus area, has been diligently working over the past two years on a proposal to add 400 parking meters in West Campus between Rio Grande Street. and Guadalupe Street. The purpose of the parking meters is to regulate the parking situation and control traffic, which is necessary in the area.

Although some students may be upset about having to pay for parking in West Campus, ultimately the meters will be more beneficial than harmful to the students. Additionally, 51 percent of the parking meter revenue will fund neighborhood improvement projects, such as adding new sidewalks and planting more trees. This will only further benefit the students and the West Campus area.

Currently, the University Area Partners is working on revising its proposal and gathering input from West Campus residents. On April 12, the group held an open meeting to help members gauge the reactions of West Campus business owners and residents and see what adjustments can be made to the proposal.

University Area Partners will officially vote on the proposal April 24. If passed, it will be submitted to the city’s transportation department for review by the Urban Transportation Commission. The plan would then go to the Austin City Council for the final vote in the fall.

It is in everyone’s best interests that the West Campus parking problem be addressed in a timely and fair manner. While metered parking is likely to elicit groans from those opposed to costlier parking, the benefits of safer, available parking outweigh that detracting sentiment.

Lapin is a journalism sophomore.