Chairman of the Student Government Association outreach committee and senior biological sciences major Senator Andrew King unveiled legislature that he has had on his mind for years. The legislative resolution involves the removal of a row of 14 parallel parking spaces on Pearl Street.
King introduced his resolution to the Senate on Oct. 25 during the weekly Senate meeting and the resolution was given to the campus living committee for further research before moving forward on voting.
King said he believes the spaces are dangerous, taking up a large portion of the road on the Harkins Hall side of the road. He spoke with Parking Management about the problem in 2017 and started polling students Sept. 13.
Junior communications studies major Senator Shawn Smith said the idea behind King’s resolution is decent because it is about safety over parking. However, he did not feel there was enough research done to justify taking the spots.
“As written, I probably would’ve voted no,” Smith said. “I am glad it was referred to the committee so that the committee can work on some of the finer points, do more research and make it a better piece of legislation.”
According to the resolution written by King, 14 spaces on Pearl Street are hazardous not only for that parking in them but vehicles passing by. King said the spots are far too narrow for two-lane traffic. The resolution goes on to say with the advent of the Gold Route, Hub City Transit buses pass through Pearl Street, making it even more of a hazard.
Sophomore English major Alec Blaylock said he understood the danger of the narrow road, but taking any spots away could do more harm than good.
“We barely have enough parking as it is, so people are going to have to take what they can get,” Blaylock said. “I can see where it can be dangerous, but I’ve never had a problem.”
King said that the resolution’s aim is not to take away the spots. He himself has been looking into different areas to move the 14 spaces. He said that he would be hesitant to recommend any spot without more research but has found a promising spot not far from the original area.
“A big problem people had was, ‘You are taking away spaces, and you’re not offering a solution,” King said. “In my personal opinion, I felt like that would be a bit too much micromanaging of Parking Management.”
One area, in particular, King mentioned, would be a good area to move the spots. King said Pearl Street is much wider in front of the LAB than where the spaces are currently. He said that it looked to him that the area in front of the LAB was specifically made for parking.
“People park there naturally anyways,” King said. “[The area] isn’t super wide but there are no apartments on the other side.”
If the Senate moves forward with the resolution, King will present his suggestion to Parking Management during their yearly meeting. King said that he feels the statistics of his polling speak for themselves. Ninety of the 193 students polled answered the spaces should definitely be removed.
Smith said he believes the poll’s numbers were good even if there needed to be more clarity. The question in the poll was, “Do you think Parking Management should look into the possibility of removing [the Harkins hall spaces]?” The possible answers were “definitely yes: the spaces should be removed,” “probably yes: Parking Management should study this further,” “maybe,” “unsure,” “no I don’t believe the spaces are a hazard” and “N/A: I don’t drive here.”
“College students aren’t necessarily just going to read every single word in every single option,” Smith said, “For an issue that is potentially this big, we need to make sure we do our due diligence and make sure we research whether or not there is any ambiguity.”
Smith said he felt that the affirmative answers added more than the question asked.
“The big issue with [the resolution] is people see we are removing parking which, naturally, that’s a very scary thing,” King said. “We’ve had [space removal] happen to us very recently, so I think if me make it very clear that the legislation encourages that they move the spaces to safer locations.”
King said the resolution will be ready within the next two weeks.