Columbia Leadership Council discusses Brookside parking overflow

Sep 25, 2013

Pat Fowler, a neighborhood representative, shows Columbia citizens the map while discussing pedestrian issues in East Campus neighborhood at Walton Building Community Room, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Citizens offered their opinions and solutions about how to stop pedestrians from crossing the street wherever they want.
Pat Fowler, a neighborhood representative, shows Columbia citizens the map while discussing pedestrian issues in East Campus neighborhood at Walton Building Community Room, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Citizens offered their opinions and solutions about how to stop pedestrians from crossing the street wherever they want.
Credit Feifei Lei / KBIA

A miscalculation by Brookside apartments is costing some Columbia residents up to $35 per week. 

The Downtown Leadership Council hosted a public forum Tuesday to discuss parking issues in Columbia. One full-time downtown worker says he has to pay for parking daily now because Brookside residents are taking up all the free spots. Council members say Brookside estimated 25 percent of their residents would bring cars to Columbia.

Vice chair Brian Treece says that estimate was inaccurate. “If you can afford an $800 per bed monthly unit, chances are you’re bringing a car to college with you,” he said. “They even had to go back to the drawing board and add a parking garage.”

Council member Pat Fowler says the University of Missouri estimates about 63 percent of enrolled students have cars.  One Brookside student says due to the high demand of Brookside’s limited parking, its garage charges around 70 dollars per month for a spot. So, many students are trying to find parking elsewhere.

The Council is also seeking public input on traffic and circulation in the city. At the meeting, more than 30 Columbia citizens gathered to discuss the issue of pedestrian barriers, one-way streets and parking issues.

The biggest concern of parents is the possibility of Locust and Waugh Streets becoming two-way streets. Lana Coggeshall, a Lee Elementary School parent, says that would be an unsafe option.

“I think this would be a safety disaster for school,” she said. “There’s very little room between the front of our school and the street as it is. And if we have traffic going both ways, I think that would be huge safety issue. “

Besides safety, Coggeshall says fewer parking options is another potential result worrying parents. “Right now, we have a number of meter spaces,” she said. “But if they would’ve made these streets two-ways, I think it would eliminate parking on both sides.”

She also says that from previous media reports parents were worried that the proposal was almost a done deal.

“Most of our Lee parents from reading the articles understood that this was a proposal that was going to the city,” she said. “So they were on the way to making these streets two-ways, and it turns out really is just more of a brainstorming section. So I think we are feeling more confident that streets are not going to become two-ways right away anyway.”

At the meeting, Council member Pat Fowler said she appreciated parents’ involvement and she learned a lot from them.

This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.