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By Mary Fan
Arizona Summer Wildcat
June 17, 1998

UA squabbles with city for parking power

Arizona Summer Wildcat

UA administrators and Tucson officials are at odds stemming from the City of Tucson's decision to sell annual parking permits along city streets within campus boundaries.

The city decided last month to offer 660 permits on streets scattered around the University of Arizona where parking is now free.

"The university strongly, strongly opposes that," said Marlis Davis, director of UA Parking and Transportation Services.

The move will raise an estimated $200,000 for the newly created Transportation Enterprise Area Management branch of the city's parking and transportation department.

The money will be used for street repairs and maintenance.

"They're very new and they don't have any money," Davis said. "They want to come in and establish a mini-parking system."

According to the city's parking program coordinator, Chris Leighton, the issue is not money but rather control.

"We're within their planning boundaries," Leighton said. "They don't want us coming into their yard and doing their thing."

The university itself has traditionally sold permits on campus and although the streets are technically city-controlled, this is the first time Tucson has encroached within UA boundaries.

Davis and other UA administrators appealed the city's decision Monday to a commission appointed by the city council to oversee the parking and transportation department.

The city commission refused to halt permit sales, instead recommending university officials meet with City Manager Luis Guiterrez and commissioners to discuss the issue. A meeting date has not yet been set.

Davis alleged the following may occur:

  • The city intends to open some areas now closed to parking.

  • Traffic circulation will be impeded.

  • Construction of new buildings will be constrained.

  • Parking along surface streets rather than garages wastes space.

  • Visitors and students will be confused about parking enforcement guidelines.

Davis also called it disruptive "for someone to now come on to sprinkle a few spaces around here and there."

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