Parking woes hit Wymount

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    By Devin Knighton

    Nancy Fulda, who one week ago gave birth to a little boy, Alexander, has to walk more than 200 feet to reach her car, while her neighbors only have to walk 40 feet.

    Controversy erupted between student families and the management at Wymount Terrace when management designated numbers to parking stalls, guaranteeing students a reserved place to park.

    Residents rallied together Saturday night, July 19, in the basement of a building at Wymount to discuss their frustrations and how best to work with management.

    In addition, residents of other buildings continued to sign petitions requesting either the removal or the reassignment of parking stalls. In two days, more than 49 signatures appeared on the petition.

    Cherie Egan, manager of the Wymount office, said she felt troubled with the controversy. The decision to assign each apartment a specific parking stall, she said, came in response to students” requests.

    “We actually did not want to do it at Wymount,” Egan said. “But when the tenants spoke, we listened.”

    Fulda disagreed.

    “We now have an artificial parking shortage,” Fulda said. “There never was a parking problem before.”

    Two years ago, numbers were assigned to parking stalls at Wyview, a different BYU student family housing complex.

    Clyde Hawkins, manager of BYU student family housing, said Wymount residents at that time complained they had received unfair treatment because Wyview residents had their own reserved place to park, but Wymount residents did not.

    Each time residents move away from Wymount, management asks them to complete an exit survey. Hawkins said the No. 1 and No. 2 problems on the survey always pointed to parking.

    In fact, Hawkins said some of the surveys showed women complaining about coming home from work late and having to park so far away that their husbands needed to escort them to their apartment. The numbering of the parking stalls resulted from those exit surveys.

    Bryce White, a resident in the middle section of Wymount and a BYU student, majoring in Spanish, said he thought the numbering would be a good idea because it worked so well at Wyview.

    Now, however, White opposes the system and said the current plan is “ludicrous” because of the way it was implemented.

    “They didn”t take into consideration where people lived or where would be the easiest spot for them from their home,” White said. “After I called and spoke with the community aides, they said they would look into it because it was nothing like how they had planned it with the Wymount office.”

    At the meeting Saturday night, Rob Chase, a resident and student, explained a new plan he devised for assigned parking. The current plan requires some families to walk 240 feet to reach their cars and others to walk only 40 feet. In contrast, Chase”s plan ensures that none of the families will have to walk more than 160 feet to reach their cars.

    “The way they assigned the parking is so ridiculous,” Nancy Fulda said. “Some tenants are parking in guest parking because it is such a long distance to park in their own stalls.”

    Although some families sent a letter with Chase”s new proposed parking plan, Hawkins said in a response letter that no changes will be made.

    “You”ll never satisfy everyone,” Hawkins said. “There have been letters with people who have called, and they are grateful for what has been done.”

    One resident who lives on the northern end of Wymount, Logan Gillette, said the new parking system is working well for him and his neighbors.

    “In our area, we were really pushing for numbered parking,” Gillette said. “It has really alleviated a lot of problems for us.”

    Another resident, Ben Bolin, who also lives on the northern end of Wymount, said he and his wife are happier with the assigned parking.

    “Our apartment is the furthest away from the parking lot,” Bolin said. “We used to have to walk a half a block to get to our apartment.”

    Although Fulda said he recognizes some residents support the change, he said no one can say how many support the changes until an official survey is conducted with those who currently live at Wymount.

    Fulda said the real problem deals with how management refused to allow students to participate in the planning process.

    While Fulda said he understands how management acted according to the surveys from the residents moving out, he does not understand why the management did not include more of the current residents in deciding, planning or implementing the program.

    Egan said management has an open door policy and never intended to exclude students.

    “Community aides told individuals that they were welcome to come in and look at the map,” Egan said. “To my knowledge, I don”t remember a whole lot of people coming in.”

    Hawkins has met with Fulda and Chase to discuss the possibility of switching a few guest parking stalls with the numbered stalls. But as for the other 49 signatures on the petition from the other buildings, the management has indicated no plan of action.

    “It”s not as good as my proposal here,” Chase said. “But it”s a compromise.”

    Fulda said he thinks the issue runs deeper than parking alone. Above all, he said he hopes this will send a message to the Wymount office that the residents need to be involved in the decision making process.

    “At the end of the day, it (the parking situation) is not that big of a deal,” White said. “But it just shows that with the little things, the people at Wymount just haven”t caught on yet.”

    Egan said management is happy to speak with any resident who still feels frustrated about the situation.

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