Wednesday, October 18, 2006

residential permit parking for carfree households

Ann Arbor has designated several areas for residential parking permit districts, where residents can purchase permits to park on the street otherwise limited to short-term parking. Obviously this is not a big issue for carfree households.

However, residents can also purchase moveable permits for visitors, guests, and service providers who may need to park on the street near their home, provided that they have already purchased a permenant permit for one of their vehicles. This is where it gets sticky for carfree families as it seems that residents are penalized for not owning a car by not being able to provide street space for In fact, this whole blog started as a result of a complaint about this process voiced in the comments of an AAIOR post.

After a little investigation and a lot of help from the kind and generous city staff, we have unravelled the mystery of how the carfree masses can obtain a RPP for guests. Section 18 of the criteria states that residents can make a written request for exception. "The Public Services Administrator will evaluate the circumstances and may grant a 'Special Exception' on a case-by-case basis provided the exception is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of City ordinance on residential parking districts." It is our understanding that a few "Special Exceptions" have already been granted and the carfree plea seems to fit within the constraints of "the general purpose and intent" of the ordinance.

While the process requires a little more hassle for carfree folks, it is possible to get a guest permit and the city appears to recognize the pontential obstacle for carfree residents. Although it would be great if Ann Arbor reached the point where being carfree wasn't considered a special exception.

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