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Erik Burgess, Published July 16 2012

Concordia may not see 3-hour parking

MOORHEAD – Stricter parking rules will be enforced in the university community here this school year, but where exactly the enforcement will occur has yet to be decided.

The Moorhead City Council decided Monday to delay discussion of how a new parking plan at the two colleges will be enforced until next week after problems arose with Concordia College, specifically regarding the plan to enact three-hour parking zones along campus streets.

The plan, whose $51,630 budget was approved by the council in June, includes increased parking enforcement and placement of three-hour parking zones around both Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia, but Concordia’s provost and dean told the council Monday that his university will not benefit from three-hour parking on their campus.

“We’re just asking for a year to give us some time,” Mark Krejci told the council.

The three-hour parking in question would affect streets within roughly a two-block radius around the two campuses.

Some students and campus staff used to be able to park in those areas all day.

The difference between Concordia and MSUM though, Krejci said, is parking lots at Concordia are free, so street congestion isn’t an issue like it is at MSUM, where lots have fees.

Krejci said after a year, the city could look at the area again and see if three-hour parking would improve Concordia’s situation.

Councilwoman Nancy Otto argued to move the project forward but only east of Eighth Street so three-hour zones would affect MSUM but not Concordia.

“Why are we going to offend and quite frankly piss off some students if we don’t have to?” Otto asked the council. “Concordia College is not ready for this.”

The plan might also include giving parking permits to homes along the three-hour zones. Details of plan implementation should be discussed and voted on at the next council meeting July 23.

The two-phased parking project is a result of a 2011 corridor study that looked at parking from Third Street South to 17th Street South between Fourth and 16th avenues south.

The council should vote on the issue next week, and the new zones would be enforced beginning this August with the new school year.

Ramp project

In other news, the council voted unanimously to approve the bid for the Minnesota Department of Transportation Interstate 94 ramp project.

The project was awarded to Central Specialties, Inc. of Alexandria for the price of approximately $1.58 million. MnDOT officials said the project will start in September, will take around six weeks to complete.

In the project, one westbound ramp and one eastbound ramp will be reconstructed from Southeast Main Avenue to I-94.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518