Mayor Don Hahn Asks Borough Council To Consider Changes To Proposed Overnight Parking Restrictions
State College Borough Council spent numerous meetings in March and April discussing overnight parking, even though the original proposal from the Highlands Civic Association was presented about a year prior. Months later, we’re still talking about these damn overnight parking restrictions.
For those not up to speed, it’s codified that many streets and areas of the borough ban parking between 2 and 6 a.m. However, this rule has traditionally been relaxed (read: not enforced) for special events like home football weekends and Arts Fest. The problem is there’s no written rule that allows these exceptions.
Borough Council approved moving forward with a pilot program for parking permits in April, which would only cover the Highlands neighborhood and would likely take effect October 1 if all goes to plan. Though staff has no doubt been hard at work in the planning stages of this program, no ordinance has yet been submitted to council.
State College Mayor Don Hahn posted on his blog Sunday republishing a letter he sent to Borough Council on August 1 outlining three revisions he’d like them to consider for the proposed overnight parking restrictions. Here’s what Hahn is proposing:
Revise Overnight Non-Event Parking Regulations
To clarify, Hahn does believe some sort of overnight parking regulations are appropriate. His first revision states that he supports “imposing a small, administrative fee upon those who request for special exceptions to enforcement are made during the evenings or weekends” as well as “liberalizing the number and circumstances in which timely special exceptions to enforcement are granted.”
It seems like this would keep the small fee for a residential parking pass and visitor passes but would potentially take away the limit on the number of visitor passes that could be used in a year.
Create an Overnight Event Parking Area
One of the biggest criticisms of the overnight parking regulations for special event weekends is the lack of other downtown parking options. Hahn’s second proposal is to create an overnight parking area close to downtown “in areas where the residents do not object to overnight event parking.” It wouldn’t be tied to residency requirements, but would be limited to the number of available spaces. Hahn says this would “help provide relief from the inadequate supply of downtown garage parking during football weekends.”
Reconsider Limitation to Highlands Neighborhood
Hahn encourages council to reconsider limiting the proposed changes to the Highlands neighborhood, as he suspects that the overnight parking will become a problem for adjacent neighborhoods like Holmes-Foster and College Heights.
“Of course, I would respect the decision of Borough Council if it were to disagree with any or all of my preferences,” Hahn wrote. “However, as Mayor, I also have a couple procedural concerns about the level of citizen input with respect to a future ordinance.”
Hahn said he believes the public should have the opportunity to be heard in a hearing on the proposed revisions prior to council voting on an ordinance. He also urged council to give the Transportation Commission the opportunity to review and comment on the proposal that was passed in April, allowing them to consider the commission’s comments and recommendations.
There’s no clear timeline yet for next steps, but Hahn’s blog post still identified October 1 as the target date to launch any proposed changes once an ordinance is passed by Borough Council.
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Though the Judicial Board has final say on the timing of implementing all policy changes, it is expected the changes will take effect for the 14th Assembly if approved.
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