A new Provo City Council proposal would regulate parking in the Joaquin neighborhood south of the BYU campus.
The proposal would create a permit program allowing landlords to purchase parking spots on the street from the city and then rent those parking spots to tenants. Landlords who have enough parking in their lots could sell the parking in front of their own buildings to buildings that lack parking areas. There would also be spots kept available for visitors to use by paying an hourly rate using an app.
According to City Council member Dave Harding, the price of the parking spots for landlords would be just enough to maintain the program, because the goal is not to make money for the city but rather to help residents by addressing to lack of parking in the area. The landlords would then have control over how much they charge tenants to use the parking.
Harding said that while nothing has been decided yet, he hopes that if this program is approved, it will encourage a more efficient use of the parking already available while the city continues looking for ways to increase parking.
“I think that the thing that’s most for sure is that parking south of BYU campus is a headache and negatively affects the quality of life of many people. So that’s what we’re trying to address,” Harding said.
Joaquin neighborhood chair Celeste Kennard said apartment tenants sometimes park on the street because it’s more convenient for them — even if there are parking spots available in their building’s parking lot. She said charging for street parking should discourage this practice.
“It just makes it so there’s not as many free rides, and there’s also a mechanism so we don’t have to require every single building to have oodles of parking,” Kennard said.
Harding said the City Council had hoped to get the proposal finished before school ended in April so students living in the area could see it and give their input before going home for the summer. That plan got put on the back burner when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The city is just starting to return to the proposal.
Harding acknowledged that not everyone will like the plan and stated that some apartment complexes might decide to increase rent since owners will have to pay for parking in the street. He said he doesn’t think the program will increase the cost of living overall, but he expects other complexes might decrease rent because they will have extra revenue from selling the street parking they don’t need.
“There is a little bit of learning that needs to go on and there’s the potential to fight against it, but I think anyone who really takes the time to see how it will work will like how it works,” Harding said.
Lacee Bowen is a UVU student who lives in Casa Dea, an apartment complex in the neighborhood. She said she is concerned that landlords are being given control of the parking on the street because she expects them to take advantage of the situation to increase profit.
“It’s just another expense for students who are already paying so much,” Bowen said.
Bowen also said she is confused about how the parking permits would be regulated, since many apartment complexes, including Casa Dea, are already selling more parking permits than they have the parking spots available for.
Ben Perkins, another area resident, said he’s afraid this could hurt students who park on the street regularly because they don’t have the money in their budget to pay for parking. Perkins lives in Kimball Apartments, and he said he doesn’t know what the solution to the parking issues in the area should be, but he doesn’t think that this proposal is it.
“I can see both sides. It could potentially help. It also could create more issues,” Perkins said, “With all of this regulation coming in, it’s not free for anyone anymore.”