Neighbors turn to city council for solution to parking problems around Merced College

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Neighbors living near Merced College are fighting to get residential permits after having several issues with students parking along their street. They say issues have been loitering, loud music and even drug use.

Neighbors in the area said they're hoping the city council will approve the permits so they can finally put a stop to what they're calling a nuisance. "Reserved Residential Parking" signs are what neighbors along the Beals and Spaulding-area are petitioning to get in their own neighborhoods.

The city of Merced said a group of neighbors approached the city back in May about requiring residential parking permits for a section of their street. City manager Mike Conway said the problem comes from the students not parking on campus and parking across the street instead.

"They couldn't park on their street because they were having so many appear to be students parking there," he said. "They also had a concern that at lunch hour, there was a noise and littering issue."

Ten residents who live just steps away from the college signed a petition to require permits. This would mean that a permit would be required to park on the street during certain hours. One neighbor said he was one of the people who signed the petition and that he sees students jaywalking constantly, and even had his driveway blocked one time.

"We've had confrontations with students with garbage, loitering, just the congestion of the parking area," he said.

He's now hoping permits could solve the problem.

"It's not a question of not being neighborly," he said. "It's a question of respect of our residential property right."

Jackie DeSantes is another neighbor who signed the petition and said, besides some congestion and a few students littering, she hasn't had many problems.

"They're all respectful, friendly," DeSantis said.

She says the only problem she's had was two years ago when she was forced to call the police.

"Mostly young men smoking pot," DeSantis said. "They were dancing on the sidewalk and had their music. They were having a party."

Some students say the reason they park on the street rather than park in the many available spots on campus is to save some money.

"Saves me $20 on the permit," student Jose Gonzalez said. "That's basically it."

"If they make illegal, I will pay the parking fee, but I don't have to right now," student Nick Benson added.

The council will discuss the residential permits during Monday night meeting. A concern the city expressed is if they put up signs along the streets, this issue may move over to the next street over.

They also said they've experienced this issue with Merced College before and some streets by the school already have these signs as a result of this problem. Conway said if the city council approves the permit during their meeting that night, it will go into effect in about six weeks.
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